The Story of Kaffa: The Origins of Coffee

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Each morning more and more Americans are waking up to the unique scent and unparalleled taste of 734 Coffee. 734 Coffee is the latest effort from Humanity Helping Sudan Project to raise awareness of the refugee crisis around the world. The coffee comes from the Gambella region of Ethiopia and thus directly affects the economic landscape there. Each bean is treated with care before it embarks upon it’s journey to the United States, where it is packaged, sold, and enjoyed. On the back of each package is the story of refugees, our story. We pride our coffee on being different, because it is so much more than just a cup of coffee; it is a way to change a life for the better.

Having fallen in love with the quality of Ethiopian coffee, I felt compelled to learn more about its origins, and so, I did my homework. With some research, I learned of the intriguing story of the discovery of coffee and it’s birth in Ethiopia; the story of kaffa:

Kaffa is the origin of the word “coffee.” It is the name of the region in which coffee was discovered and was located in the ancient country Abyssinia, which is now modern Ethiopia. Along with Ethiopia being the birthplace of coffee, it is currently the fifth largest exporter of coffee in the world because the soil and climate create the perfect environment for growing the crop. The brewing of coffee beans began in Kaffa when, in the 9th century AD, a goat herder named Kaldi noticed his goats become energized and excited, prancing about the fields. After eating the berries himself, Kaldi felt equally as elated. He rushed home to share his discovery.

Upon his wife’s recommendation, he brought the berries to the nearest place of worship in the village. After a brief explanation, the head Monk deemed the berries to be the “Devil’s work,” and abruptly threw the berries into a nearby fire. Soon thereafter, a sensual and powerful aroma filled the room that could not be overlooked. The head monk, whom had thrown them in the fire in the first place, ordered the embers be pulled from the fire and for hot water to be poured over them to preserve the smell. Upon drinking the mixture, they experienced the peaceful, warming, and calming sensation it gave them. The after-effects were just as powerful, as they were able to stay alert and discuss important matters for longer periods of time.

Bringing People together

Since this seemingly accidental discovery, coffee houses have been vital to the makings of history and society, as we know it today. Coffee houses and shops have harbored many political debates, cultural interventions, secret rendezvous, and even casual meetings. HHSP wants the launch of 734 Coffee to represent what coffee has always been known for, bringing people together. We hope that our coffee can help people come together to have a conversation, and enact change. Drinkers of 734 Coffee help people in need so that they may be able to help themselves. This is central to HHSP’s mission and you can help  in multiple ways.


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Brielle D'Alessio