The coffee plant originated in Ethiopia in what was then the Kaffa region of Abyssinia.

One of the many legends about coffee dates to 800 C.E., when a monk in a monastery in Yemen was informed by a shepherd named Kaldi that his sheep were acting strangely after eating some red berries (from the coffee plant) and kept up their lively behavior all night. The monk, along with other curious monks, decided to collect the berries and turn them into a black, bitter decoction.

They started using it to ward off sleep and tiredness to stay awake at night to pray.

In 1555 in Istanbul, two Syrians opened the first public coffee house, a meeting place for poets, intellectuals, mystics, and idlers.

The coffee bean was brought to Europe in the 16th century by Venetian merchants along with other spices. Initially, it was only purchased from pharmacies, where it was sold to treat various illnesses. It rapidly gained in popularity in Europe, where it was supplied in great quantities even to the gates of Vienna by the powerful Ottoman Emperor. This was despite the customs bans, since Vino d’Arabia (as coffee was originally known to Europeans), was criticized by the Catholic Church as the devil’s drink (because it was a Muslim concoction). According to legend, it was Pope Clemente VIII who, while sipping a cup, declared: “It is so exquisite that it would be a shame to leave it only to the infidels” and he then baptized the coffee to make it a Christian beverage. In Italy, coffee became widespread around 1645, and the first coffeehouse was opened in Venice on December 29, 1720, which is the current Caffè Florian in Piazza S. Marco, where Casanova courted the Venetian ladies.




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