How Did A Sheep Discover Coffee?

Legend has it, almost a thousand years ago, a shepherd named Kali was grazing his flock in the high, almost barren hills of what is now Yemen in the Middle East.

He was surprised to see his sheep running and playing. This was unusual because his animals were usually too busy trying to find grass to have a moment for sport.

Then Kali saw one of the rams chew at the beans of a half- shriveled tree that grew on the far side of a low hill. As he watched, the sheep stretched higher and higher, eating all the beans it could reach.

The more it ate, the happier it seemed to become. Kali went to see what his prize ram was eating and finally chewed on the small green bean himself. Soon, he felt his spirits rise. He felt refreshed. Kali was smart. He knew a good thing when he found it.

Soon Kali had many of these trees. He toasted the green beans until they became a lovely brown and their bitter flavor had mellowed. He found a way to cook them in water and make a pleasant, stimulating drink. He gave up sheep herding, and did nothing but sell his wonderful brown beans.

He became very rich. Kali had discovered coffee and its stimulating alkaloid, caffeine.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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