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No one knows exactly when the coffee plant was discovered. As the legend has it, ancient African healers first used the beneficial effects of raw or cooked coffee cherries. The prevailing opinion suggests that the peculiar behaviour of animals who consumed coffee cherries from the bush lead to the discovery of the coffee plants and its effects.

Several legends surround the discovery of coffee: According to one story, shepherds from the Kaffa province of the Abyssinian highlands in Ethiopia complained to the local monks that their animals would not show any signs of fatigue and were continuously restless and agitated.  Upon investigation, the monks found a dark-green shrub growing on the respective meadows, bearing green, yellow and red cherry-like berries. Intrigued, the monks prepared a brew of these new berries, sampled it and were able to stay awake all night and engage in animated discussions.


Another legend refers to the great prophet Mohammed. According to ancient oriental storytellers, the archangel Gabriel appeared to the dying prophet with a bowl of steaming, dark liquid. After drinking the brew, Mohammed swiftly recuperated and, by this newly gained celestial power, consolidated a huge Islamic empire that the world had never seen before.

A third myth describes a young dervish called Omar. Defamed and innocently convicted, he was banished to a remote stone desert with his comrades. He was famished and faint when he ate the fruit of an unknown bush growing at his hiding place. Miraculously, he recovered and then returned to the city to tell others about these mysterious fruits. Now everyone wanted to try it, and Omar became famous; he even received a palace as a gift from the reigning khalif as a reward for his discovery.