Coffee Has Been Around A Lot Longer Than You Might Think

Whether you prefer a light roast or dark roast, whether you're devoted to your French press or prefer the convenience and simplicity of coffee pods, for coffee drinkers, there's nothing quite like that first cup in the morning. Coffee can also be a crucial part of your routine, helping to fuel you through your afternoon slump or simply providing a hot beverage to linger over when you're taking a break. However, have you ever stopped to think about just how long coffee has been around, and how long ago people started the ritual of having a fresh brewed cup right when they woke up? The answer just might surprise you.

According to Good Housekeeping, one of the first known mentions of coffee dates all the way back to the ninth century, A.D. 800. As legend says, the caffeinated staple of many modern diets was thought to have been discovered by a goat herder in Ethiopia. Allegedly, the individual noticed that his goats ate fruit from a particular plant, the Coffea plant, and afterward demonstrated a serious amount of energy to the point where they were dancing in the fields and not sleeping. The goat herder was curious about why exactly the plant had such an impact on his animals, so he took his newly discovered plant to a local monastery in search of more insight.

The transition from berry to brew

The National Coffee Association USA gives a few more details, explaining that after the goat herder brought his findings to the monastery, an abbot ended up making some type of beverage from the berries as he tried to learn a bit more about the mysterious plant. Similar to how the goats were energetic and unable to sleep after munching on the berries, the abbot himself was fueled through his many hours of evening prayer as a result of the new concoction he brewed up. Obviously, he didn't want to keep his exciting finding to himself, and he spread the word amongst others in the monastery, so they could likewise get a little added burst of energy when needed.

From there, it took a while to spread through to different areas of the world — and for individuals to refine the way they made it. Apparently, as PBS explains, there was a time when the coffee fruit was used, fermenting the pulp to make an almost fruity mixture, which could have been what the abbot did all those years ago at the monastery. The process of roasting the coffee beans, which is how we get our coffee today, didn't actually start until the 13th century.