Every significant contribution to humanity has its origin, story, or myth. Coffee comes complete with a rather charming myth of its discovery. This story has held intact with some variations throughout the ages for hundreds of years now.
I will paraphrase the myth as the true focus of this article is the meaning behind the legend. For those of you that do not know, it is said that coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia by a goat herder named Kaldi, a poet with an artistic spirit that played pipes and cared for the animals. One day he noticed the goats acting strange, running about and dancing on their hind legs in pure joy. Kaldi noticed they were eating berries from a peculiar plant he had not seen before. He soon joined them, and within a short time, poetry and dance were spilling out from him as well.
Kaldi eventually took these magic cherries to the local monastery of the Sufi monks.
Skeptical at first, the Sufi then tried them, and they too were impressed. They decided to embrace the fruit as it allowed them to engage in prayer well into the night.
Myth is an essential part of culture as well as psychological development and well being. The myths and stories of people’s past were formed, refined, and perfected over generations until distilled into the perfect allegories to help our archaic brains process our changing earth and changing lives.
The myth of Kaldi is innocent and straightforward enough. However, it does reveal what I believe is truly important and powerful about coffee in our lives.
“The myth communicates that coffee is a sacred fruit that aids in the human endeavor for the aspirational goal of self-actualization.”– Jake Leonti 2021
Written by Jake Leonti, F+B Therapy for CoffeeTalk Magazine