It is said that the stimulating effects of coffee were discovered by a 9th century goat-herder who observed his goats becoming livelier and more energetic after consuming the fruit of a certain bush. As the story goes, the shepherd gathered up some of the coffee “cherries”, brewed himself a drink and, as any coffee lover can well-imagine, became hooked.
Whether that’s a true tale or a tall-tale, historical records show that by the 15th century coffee consumption was wide-spread throughout Africa and the Middle East. It wasn’t until the mid-1600s, though, that coffee merchants began importing the beans on a large-scale basis to the Netherlands, home of Europe’s first coffeehouses. Today, coffee is enjoyed world-wide and has become a part of our cultural landscape. Cafes and coffee-shops are everywhere and “going for coffee” remains an affordable daily indulgence; even with today’s economic belt-tightening. For some of us, it is the one vice that we have allowed ourselves to hang on to.