Kaldi Story graphic of Ethiopian man with goats

A Very Short (and hilarious) History of Coffee


This is one of our favourite tales to tell over a coffee at Yahava and decided it was time to share it with you!

The sun was beating down on a beautiful day in 9th Century Ethiopia and Kaldi, a humble goat-herder was making his way through the fields – curiously watching his goats stampede up and down the terrace! It was almost as if they were… dancing?! Believing it was a sign from the Gods, Kaldi joined the party, paying respect to the Gods with some funky 9th Century Ethiopian dance moves.

After a somewhat long dance session, Kaldi began to wonder exactly what it was that drove his flock in to a violent dance frenzy. So, like any 9th century Ethiopian goat-herder that’s worth his salt, Kaldi popped on his investigation hat and got to scrutinizing the evidence.

Kaldi struck gold when he examined the goat droppings! He found buried within the foul smelling excrement a cherry-like fruit. Not just any cherry-like fruit – but a coffee cherry-like fruit (or just a coffee cherry). He had never witnessed anyone or anything consume this little caffeine packed cherry before. He decided he must try it!

History is unclear as to whether Kaldi ventured out to find a new cherry or simply wiped off the excess… waste, and went to town on it.

Suffice to say, once he experienced his first caffeine hit, Kaldi the goat-herder slipped his dancing shoes back on!

You may think this is where the fateful story of our favourite 9th Century Ethiopian goat herder ends – but alas Kaldi’s journey was not yet over.


Upon discovering these magical cherries, filled with the energy of a thousand men (ok maybe we’re exaggerating), Kaldi wanted to share it with the world!

For weeks Kaldi pondered what he would do with this gargantuan discovery. Many late nights were had and many a coffee cherry was ingested.

He had visions of his family being able to work 10 times harder and 10 times faster (don’t we all) and yielding massive crops at the end of the season – with enough food to feed even the largest village.

One day, bubbling with energy and potentially over-caffeinated, Kaldi darted his way along the dusty road to his local monastery. Kaldi presented his prized cherries to a nearby monk, “look I have found the answer to our problems. No longer will we get tired. No longer will we run out of energy. This cherry has been sent to us by the gods!”

The weary old monk had no time for a delusional old goat-herder with ‘magic’ beans. With barely a glance, the monk cast the cherries in to the fire and set off for morning prayers.

Once the weary old monks had finished prayers they returned to their courtyard and were confronted with the most enticing aroma. They hurriedly went to investigate the smell emanating from the embers of the fire.

There, buried deep among the blazing embers was the coffee cherry, split open and bearing it’s toasted seeds as if it really was an offering from the Gods. The monk knelt down and placed his hand among the embers to retrieve the roasted coffee seeds – sure he probably suffered some horrific burns, but hey, it’s all in the name of koffee. Sure enough, it was these beautiful little beans that were giving off such a fine aroma.

This was the birth of koffee as we know it today. Of course it took time for the Ethiopian monks to immerse that wondrous bean in hot water and experience a true cup of ‘bunna’ (Ethiopian for koffee) – but they got most of it right on the first go.

What was the fate of poor Kaldi the 9th Century Ethiopian dancing goat-herder, you say? Good question. There are only rumours of his fate. Some say he spent the rest of his days grooving away the days with his goats, others say he ingested so many cherries that he had a heart attack. No one really knows.

All we do know is that if Kaldi never existed, it’s likely that our obsession with koffee might never have formed and Yahava might have just been a tea house! Oh lord. Now that’s a scary thought!

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