Coffee has not always been served as a beverage. African tribes crushed the ripe cherries from wild coffee trees, mixed with animal fat, and rolled them into round balls. These “coffee balls” were served at their war parties. The result of eating these coffee balls was:

1. fat combined with raw coffee’s high protein content provided the African tribes with nourishment
2. the considerable caffeine content of the mixture was of course a “stimulant” that stirred the warriors on to greats heights of warrior abilities

I guess one could sort of compare those African tribe coffee balls to the cans of spinach Popeye use to consume to become mighty and strong enough to battle with Pluto for the quest of Olive Oil’s love!

When coffee appeared as a beverage in Africa it appeared not in the form as we know it, but as a wine that was made from fermented juice of the ripe cherries mixed with cold water.

Later in around 1000 A.D. the Arabs learned to boil coffee. This is when coffee became a hot drink.

From coffee’s first discovery the new drink was surrounded by mystery, and thought to have magical properties. The first coffee drinkers described experiences of sensations ranging from exhilaration to religious ecstasy.

Legends about how coffee could create great physical and mental feelings of well-being created a mythical status that spread throughout the Arab world. It was at first consumed only on the advice of a physician or a beloved priest. Coffee as a beverage became rapidly popular. Doctors accepted coffee as beneficial and prescribed it to their willing patients.

Dervishes provided coffee at night-long religious services in Aden, Yemen, Cairo and Mecca. They passed huge jars of coffee around and chanted prayers until the new day arrived. Lawyers, artists and those who worked at night discovered the benefits of coffee for staying awake for long hours. Soon doctors no longer had to prescribe coffee. Coffee was becoming a permanent staple of the civilized Eastern world.

As the demand for coffee continued to grow, the Arabs developed an effective form of cultivation. They started coffee plants in nurseries from seed and transferred the young plants to plantations in the foothills of nearby mountains. They irrigated the plants using a system of pebble-lined trenches that distributed water from the mountain streams throughout the young coffee tree plants. Shade poplars protected them from the sun. As popularity of coffee grew methods of preparation became more sophisticated.

People started preparing coffee as a decoction from the dried hulls of the bean. Then someone got the idea of roasting the hulls over charcoal fire. Further advances in preparation included whole beans roasted on stone trays, then on metal plates. Next, the roasted beans were pulverized with a mortar and pestle and the powder was combined with boiling water. For over 300 years, this decoction that included ground and all was consumed, as the main method of coffee preparation.

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© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

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Written by: Connie Limon Visit an extensive list of FREE reprint coffee articles for your websites, newsletters or blogs.