Coffee History Is Black History
Like many of the world's most popular agricultural products, coffee is grown in few major regions where the climate is just right for is production to thrive. For coffee, these areas are in Central and South America; Southeast Asia; and Africa and the Middle East—all of which land in an equatorial zone known as The Bean Belt.
But as legend has it, the consumption of coffee can be traced back to a goat herder in the forests of ancient Ethiopia. This man was said to have found berries in the forest that would energize his goats. The abbot at a local monastery then turned the berries into a drink that would keep him alert during evening prayers. Knowledge of coffee beans then spread east and continued across the globe.
Today, coffee is the third most consumed drink worldwide, behind water and tea. It is produced in over 50 countries, including its native Ethiopia, which accounts for about 3% of all coffee worldwide. Ethiopian coffee is known for its full-bodied flavor.
Kahawa coffee is produced in multiple African countries, namely Kenya and Rwanda, where the company works directly with women farmers, who account for 90% of the labor but only 1% of land ownership in the coffee industry there. Kahawa's single-origin Ethiopian coffee comes from the Guji region, where the drying process is done while the beans are still in the cherry. This yields a natural, fruity sweetness that doesn't require the addition of sugar or milk.
Although coffee has spread across the world, creating agricultural ecosystems, impacting various cultures, and going through many iterations, its African origin story can never be forgotten. The Ethiopian roots of this ubiquitous beverage only add to the richness of coffee's long history.