The story of coffee

Coffee gets its name from the Kingdom of Kaffa in Ethiopia, Africa.  One account is that it was discovered there in the ninth century CE by a goat-herder named Kaldi, who saw his goats eat the berries and then jump around with lots of energy.  Kaldi chewed some berries himself and felt energized, so he brought some of these berries to the nearest monastery and told a monk about them.  The monk disapproved and threw the berries into the fire.  The other monks smelled the burning beans and came to find out what was causing the delicious aroma.  The roasted beans were rescued from the fire, ground up and added to boiling water making the very first cup of coffee.

Trade between Ethiopia and Yemen introduced the berries to southern Arabia.  From there coffee drinking spread to Egypt and North Africa.  By the 16th century it had spread to the Middle East, Persia and Turkey.  Records show that the first coffeehouse opened in Constantinople in 1554.  Italian traders imported coffee beans into Italy and it spread from there to the rest of Europe.  The first European coffee house in Venice, Italy, dates from 1645.  The Dutch took coffee plants to the East Indies and the Americas and started to grow coffee there.  By 1719 the Dutch were able to supply most of Europe’s coffee needs from these coffee plantations.  As international travel increased, people in more and more countries were introduced to this drink, and its popularity slowly spread all over the world.  In the late 20th century new improvements were developed, and instant freeze-dried coffee and canned coffee became commonly used.  These days most of the world’s coffee comes from Brazil and Colombia.  Businesses like Starbucks continue to spread the popularity of this flavorful drink.

Click on the audio recording below to hear the lesson.


account:  story
CE: common era from the year 1 to the present
berries:  round-shaped fruit of a plant
energized:  full of energy
monastery:  home for religious people called monks
monk:  a religious person
disapproved:  thought it was wrong
beans:  berries
aroma:  nice smell
rescued:  saved
ground up:  made into tiny pieces
boiling:  100 degrees Celcius
trade:  the exchange of goods
records:  writings
imported:  brought into the country
supply:   deliver and sell
plantations:  farms
popularity:  use by more and more people
late:  end of the
improvements:  Things and ways to make something better
developed:  made
instant:  ready to use, just add hot water
freeze-dried:  a process that quickly takes the water out of food
canned:   in a can
commonly:  by many people

Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the above vocabulary on the audio file below.

© 2014 Ambien Malecot