The origins of coffee are shrouded in mystery, but the drink dates back to at least the 15th century, and may have been around centuries earlier. One well-known story dates the discover of coffee to the 9th century. Apparently Kaldi, an Ethiopian goat herder, came across the plant while tending his flock. However, this story was first recorded in 1671 and is probably simply a legend.
Coffee is said to have spread from Ethiopia to Egypt and Yemen, but there’s no clear evidence to indicate this. The earliest confirmed evidence of coffee drinking appears in the middle of the 15th century in the Sufi monasteries near Mocha in Yemen. By the 16th century, coffee had reached the rest of Middle East, Persia, Turkey and Northern Africa. Coffee then spread through the Balkans, Italy and on into the rest of Europe. Later still, coffee was imported into Indonesia and the Americas, which are key coffee producing countries today.