Two of my favorite things: goats & dark roast coffee
By now, most of you know about my goat obsession. So it was to my great delight when I discovered goats had a hand, or should I say hoof, in the creation of a long-time vice of mine: coffee.
Believe it or not, goats played a pivotal role in the historical first-time human interaction with coffee berries. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the high altitude mountains and contrasting valleys of the Ethiopian highlands…Now picture goats grazing…Open your eyes and keep that visual in mind while reading the following:
Goat herder tending his goats on the Ethiopian Highlands
‘In ancient Ethiopia a young goatherd named Kaldi noticed his goats dancing and prancing after eating the small, red fruit of a nearby shrub. Not wishing to be left out of the fun, Kaldi ate the coffee cherries and soon he was dancing with his goats.’
Some call this a legend. I tend to believe it on face-value now that I’ve had firsthand experience with goats; in the garden or otherwise!
Historically, the Arabs were the first, not only to cultivate coffee but also to begin its trade. By the fifteenth century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the sixteenth century it was widely known throughout Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey.
Coffee was not only drunk in homes but also in the many public coffee houses — called qahveh khaneh — which began to appear in cities across the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses was unequaled and people frequented them for all kinds of social activity. Not only did they drink coffee and engage in conversation, but they also listened to music, watched performers, played chess and kept current on the news of the day. In fact, coffee houses quickly became major centers for the exchange of ideas and information, gaining a reputation as being ‘Schools of the Wise.’
Over the years, I have accumulated an impressive a list of my favorite ‘Schools of the Wise.’ Personal criteria being: a place filled with ambiance, artistic vibes, happenings and serving quality coffee, preferably in-house roasted. Oh, and the possible perk of offering killer chocolate croissants is always an added plus. Continue reading