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How one goat herder started humanity's centuries-long coffee craze

The world's favorite drink has a rich, robust history.

history of coffee, coffee, coffee near me
Representative Image from Canva

Goats are the GOAT for discovering coffee.

Had a cup of coffee today? If yes, you are part of the world’s 4.83 billion coffee drinkers. That’s approximately 60% of our entire adult population.

Coffee is virtually everywhere, in various different forms. A dark roast americano at the press of a button at home. Fancy lattes at the nearest coffee shop, of which there are two more across the street. The cheap, diluted stuff from the gas station. The possibilities are endless.

Coffee is so commonplace now that it’s almost hard to fathom a time before it…a time when people had to either take a nap or surrender to being tired all day (those were the real dark times).

But just like every modern day convenience, coffee has an origin story. And a pretty interesting one at that.

As a video from Ted-Ed explains, coffee is said to have been discovered by a goat herder.

So sayeth the Ethiopian legend: A goat herder named Kaldi noticed that when members of his flock began to eat the berries off of a certain tree, they’d get bursts of energy. When Kaldi decided to try the berries himself, he too got a jolt.

Considering Ethiopia is where most agree that coffee originated, why not go with their legend? Coffee was being foraged here by the 1400s, but instead of roasting the beans, the leaves would be brewed just like tea. Or the berries would be combined with butter and salt for a quick energy snack. (I’ll stick to my chocolate covered espresso beans, thank you very much.)

Eventually the berries would be made into an “energizing elixir” and traded along the route to the Middle East. By the 1450s, coffee was already popular in Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Yemen and Persia.

By this time, coffee was also used for ritual worship in Yemen, which brought about the new brewing methods of roasting and grinding the beans. Dark roast lovers…you can thank the Ottoman Empire.

There was even a period in the 1500s when authorities tried to ban coffee, for fear that it was too much of an intoxicating drug (which, scientifically speaking, isn’t too inaccurate). But eventually that concern was ruled out, and coffee houses began popping up all over the map, spreading to Istanbul, Damascus, and beyond.

Not only more coffee shops, but coffee bean farms. And this is where we got certain names for coffee drinks, like Mocha and Java.

By the 1650s, at the dawn of the Enlightenment Period, coffee shops were opened in Europe. This had an especially powerful effect on London culture, as tavern-going was replaced by attending coffee houses, dubbed “penny universities.” For just one penny (the price of a cup of coffee), customers could not only get a burst of energy, but exposure to new ideas from academics, artists, and intellectuals.

Of course, new ways of thinking didn’t really sit well with King Charles II at the time. Fearing that it might become a threat to his throne, he attempted to “close coffee-houses altogether,” an order which he went back on two days before it would go into effect, as Brian Cowan writes in “The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse.”

By 1906, when the world’s first commercial espresso machine and industrial roasting machine were introduced, we began getting our first coffee brands, which would slowly make their way into many homes around the globe. Only a few short years later, coffee breaks were introduced to a majority of workplaces. And here we are today, in a land where PSLs (pumpkin spice lattes, for the uninitiated) are an expected annual delight and you can take your cup of joe with a zillion different kinds of alternative milks. What a time to be alive.

Luckily, the ways of creating and consuming coffee continue to evolve in ways that are more ethical and sustainable. It’s no secret that, historically, slave labor was used to harvest the product, and Indigenous peoples have been displaced to secure more growing land. Today, there are certification efforts being made to right those wrongs, including livable wages and incorporating different farming techniques like agroforestry. There’s certainly more progress to be made here, but progress is being made nonetheless.

There you have it, folks. Next time you’re enjoying a nice cuppa joe, savor all the history that goes into every single sip.

Watch the full video below:

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


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Over or under? Surprisingly, there actually is a 'correct' way to hang a toilet paper roll.

Let's settle this silly-but-surprisingly-heated debate once and for all.

Elya/Wikimedia Commons

Should you hang the toilet paper roll over or under?


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The "over or under" question has plagued marriages and casual acquaintances alike for over 100 years, with both sides convinced they have the soundest reasoning for putting their toilet paper loose end out or loose end under. Some people feel so strongly about right vs. wrong TP hanging that they will even flip the roll over when they go to the bathroom in the homes of strangers.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not merely an inconsequential preference. There is actually a "correct" way to hang toilet paper, according to health experts as well as the man who invented the toilet paper roll in the first place.

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Smalls instantly felt sympathy for Ryan Reese, a seventh-grader at Berkeley Middle School, having been bullied in his youth. So he took money meant for his daughter and went on a shopping spree with Ryan to get some new clothes and a makeover.

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