Coffee and the Ancients What You Can Learn From Ancient Coffee Rituals Around the World
What you can learn from ancient coffee rituals around the world from Coffee and the Ancients, source:mic.com

Coffee and the Ancients

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coffee and the ancients what you can learn from ancient coffee rituals around the world of coffee and the ancients Coffee and the Ancients
What you can learn from ancient coffee rituals around the world from Coffee and the Ancients, source:mic.com

Coffee and the Ancients

In early Grecian and Roman writings, no mention is made of either the coffee plant or the beverage made from the berries. Pierre Delia Valle (1586–1652), however, maintains that the nepenthe, which Homer says Helen brought out of Egypt and employed as surcease for sorrow, was nothing else but coffee mixed with wine. “She mingled with the wine the wondrous juice of a plant which banishes sadness and wrath from the heart and brings with it forgetfulness of every woe.” Several later British authors have suggested the probability of coffee being the “black broth” of the Lacedæmonians. Philippe Sylvester Dufour mentions as a possible objection against coffee that “the use and eating of beans were heretofore forbidden by Pythagoras,” but intimates that the coffee bean of Arabia is something different.

coffee and the ancients ethiopian coffee culture legend history and customs of coffee and the ancients Coffee and the Ancients
Ethiopian Coffee Culture Legend History and Customs from Coffee and the Ancients, source:thespruceeats.com

The First Appearance of Coffee in Ethiopia

While the true origin of coffee drinking may be forever hidden, shrouded as it is in legend and fable, scholars have marshaled sufficient facts to prove that the beverage was known in Ethiopia “from time immemorial,” and there is much to add verisimilitude to this theory. The coffee drink had its rise in the classical period of Arabian medicine, which dates from Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya El Razi, called Rhazes, who followed the doctrines of Galen and sat at the feet of Hippocrates. Rhazes, who lived from 850 to 922 A.D., was the first to treat medicine in an encyclopedic manner, and, according to some authorities, the first writer to mention coffee. Rhazes assured his readers that “bunchum (coffee) is hot and dry and very good for the stomach.”

The Legend of the Goat Herder

The most popular coffee origin legend ascribes the discovery of the drink to an Arabian herdsman in upper Egypt, or Abyssinia, who complained to the abbot of a neighboring monastery that the goats confided to his care became unusually frolicsome after eating the berries of certain shrubs found near their feeding grounds. The abbot, having observed the fact, determined to try the virtues of the berries on himself. He, too, responded with a new exhilaration. Accordingly, he directed that some be boiled, and the decoction drunk by his monks, who thereafter found no difficulty in keeping awake during the religious services of the night. The abbé Massieu in his poem, Carmen Caffaeum, thus celebrates the event:

The monks each in turn, as the evening draws near,
Drink ’round the great cauldron—a circle of cheer!
And the dawn in amaze, revisiting that shore,
On idle beds of ease surprised them nevermore!

According to the legend, the news of the “wakeful monastery” spread rapidly, and the magical berry soon “came to be in request throughout the whole kingdom; and in progress of time other nations and provinces of the East fell into the use of it.”