Coffee is the common man’s gold, and like gold it brings the feeling of luxury and nobility for every person.
For many Americans, waking up and brewing coffee is as vital as breathing. But not everyone knows where that hot cup of joy originally came from.
The hot, caffeinated beverage that invigorates the Western world was born in Yemen. Back then coffee was called the Arabic name qahwa. It was drunk by Sufi monks who were the first ones to brew the drink.
For the pious Muslims over eight hundred years ago the night could not begin without a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Coffee was the power drink of the pious.
For the first 300 years after its discovery, coffee was closely associated with Muslims, in particular the Sufi’s. They consumed coffee to stay awake during the night in contemplation of Allah.
There are different stories regarding the discovery of coffee in Yemen. Some say, a shepherd discovered it when all of a sudden his goats started to work energetically right after they ate wild coffee berries. Another story says that some would use coffee as a medicine in the forest and that method spread across the land.
Arab historians agree that coffee drinking began in Yemen in the middle of the twelfth century. This was after Arab traders went to coffee-mecca the Ethiopia, where coffee beans were primarily used for medicinal purposes, and brought back coffee to cultivate for the first time.
It reached the port of Mocha about a thousand years ago. After this, all coffee plants around the world originated from Yemen. It became the most popular drink amongst Muslims, which helped them in their night prayers.
However in the 1400s when the Turks conquered Mocha, they were introduced to coffee. Later on they ordered to spread it in the Middle East and North Africa.
Many Muslims thought coffee as an evil drink and requested it to be banned. Fatwas were issued against coffee. Several reasons were given; it was intoxicant, it was roasted to the point of carbonization similar to fermented drinks, which are prohibited under the Law of Islam.
But coffee is NOT a fermented fruit beverage!!!
For hundreds of years Yemen was the sole trader of these precious coffee beans until in 1600s when coffee beans were smuggled to Europe and America.
By the end of 17th century, coffee drinking had spread all over Europe and coffee beans became the major cash crop till this day.
Yes, coffee is a Muslim drink, which helps them in their night prayers very efficiently, but its legacy has also shared throughout the world. Hence it is safe to say that ‘Coffee: a universal drink!’