Legends

CHEHODET MONASTERY IN YEMEN

One of the best known legends is perhaps the one coming from the Chehodet Monastery in Yemen.  One of the monks who lived in the structure, having learned from a shepherd named Kaldi that his goats and camels were kept "lively" also at night when eating certain kind of beans, decided to prepare a beverage with the purpose of keeping awake to pray longer.  A similar legend trquested, however, that the coffee was discovered by an Imam of an Arabic monastery, who prepared a decoction of it. Made all the monks of the monastery taste it and they remained awake all night without any fatigue.


 

MUHAMMAD AND COFFEE

Less known is the legend about Muhammad: It is said that one day the Prophet was feeling really bad; the Archangel Gabriel came to rescue and brought him a potion which he received directly from Allah. The drink was as dark as the Holy Black Stone of Mecca, commonly called "qawa." Mohammed drank and suddenly took heart again and re-started for further great tasks.


 

KADDI THE SHEPHERD

The Maronite monk Antonio Fausto Nairone, professor of theology at the Sorbonne in 1700, told his students that in Arabia a shepherd named Kaddi, bringing his goats to pasture, apparently noticed that after eating the beans of a wild plant , showed signs of excitement. Unable to comprehend, the shepherd couldn’t understand what happened and therefore asked the venerable Abbot Yahia about it. Realizing these were the properties of the plant, the Abbot prepared a bitter and hot drink that by warming up the body was invigorating and freeing it from sleep and fatigue.


 

AN ARAB MONK TRAVELING TO THE CITY OF MOCHA

Sheikh Ali ben Omar, an Arabic monk remained alone during a trip to Mocha, a city to which he was accompanying his master Schadeli, who died during the journey. An angel appeared and encouraged him to continue towards the city where a terrible plague was raging. Here, with his prayers to Allah, he was able to heal many sick, even the king's daughter, with whom he fell in love. The King however, sent the monk away. Forced to live in the solitude of the mountain, the monk called for the help of his teacher to satisfy hunger and thirst. Master Schadeli sent him a magnificent bird with colorful feathers and enchanting voice. Awaked and relieved by the melodious singing Omar came to admire the bird and saw a tree covered with white flowers and red fruits: the coffee plant. He picked up some beans and made a drink with beneficial effect that he often offered the pilgrims coming to visit him. The news about the magic quality of the drink soon spread around and the monk was welcomed back with great honor.


 

ABYSSINIA: THE ORIGIN OF COFFEE

Another legend tells about an enormous fire that broke out on a vast territory of Abyssinia. This land was covered with wild plants of coffee and the aroma of that which was considered to be a giant first natural roasting spread out for dozens of miles away. Other legends trace the origins of the coffee in the highlands of Abyssinia, where it seems the true origins of the coffee are located. Memories and reports of several travelers testify however that the use of coffee was diffused throughout the Islamic East in the late sixteenth century. In Europe coffee spread throughout Venice where the first "Coffee Shop" opened in 1640. Some other people believe the first coffee shop to have opened in Leghorn. In any case, success was immediate and the coffee both as beverage as well as shop spread out in every Italian city. The diffusion of coffee in the world was facilitated by a struggle of interests between those who wanted to preserve the exclusivity of the precious plants and those who wanted to get some of the profits that these plants were giving. In 1690 some Dutch sailors landed on the coast of Mocha in Yemen, and managed to get hold of some seedlings. Few years later the first plantations flourished in Java and Sumatra. Later on coffee cultivation spread throughout Central and South America where, especially in Brazil, the largest plantations of the world are located.