Have you ever heard the legend of Kaldi and the Dancing Goats? The story originated in the Ethiopian highlands where coffee trees have been growing for centuries and still flourish today. According to the National Coffee Association, key elements of the legend may very well explain the origins of coffee––the golden nectar of writers and the daily beverage choice for approximately 54% of the American population over 18 years old (source: National Coffee Drinking Trends 2010, National Coffee Association).

One legend tells us that while Kaldi was tending his goats, he noticed several of his herd eating bright red “berries” from a nearby tree. Noting the peculiar behavior that ensued––skipping, bleating, and jumping on their hind legs––he decided to try a few of the berries himself. Kaldi (and his dancing goats) later had a very wakeful night, but his wife, struck by the spirited behavior exhibited by her husband, declared that these berries must be heaven sent! The next morning, she insisted that Kaldi share his discovery with the abbot of the local monastery.

With great enthusiasm, Kaldi related his unusual experience to the abbot who decided to try it for himself. Crushing berries from the same tree and mixing them with water, he discovered much to his delight, that the concoction kept him alert during the long hours of evening prayer. Not a man to keep good things to himself, the thoughtful abbot dutifully shared his findings with his fellow monks, and soon they were all enjoying the energizing effects of the new brew. Over time, word spread east, and coffee reached the Arabian Peninsula where its reputation then spread worldwide.

…and that’s Coffee Talk!

Sheila Wright
Sheila is a Co-Founder and President of The Children's Writer's Guild, and Editor-in-Chief of CWG Online. She provides professional editing services, and is pursuing a master's degree. Learn more about Sheila!