The history of coffee goes at least as far back as the 13th Century, though coffee's
origin remains unclear. It had been believed that Ethiopian ancestors of today's
Oromo people were the first to have discovered and recognized the energizing effect
of the coffee bean plant.
However, no direct evidence has been found indicating where in Africa coffee grew
or who among the natives might have used it as a stimulant or even known about it,
earlier than the 17th century. The story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goatherd
who discovered coffee, did not appear in writing until 1671 and is probably apocryphal.
From Ethiopia, coffee was said to have spread to Egypt and Yemen. The earliest credible
evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the
middle of the fifteenth century, in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. It was here in
Arabia that coffee beans were first roasted and brewed, in a similar way to how it
is now prepared. By the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East,
Persia, Turkey, and Northern Africa. Coffee then spread to Italy, and to the rest
of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas.
The word "coffee" entered English in 1598 via Dutch koffie. This word was created
via Turkish kahve, the Turkish pronunciation Arabic qahwa, a truncation of qahhwat
al-bun or wine of the bean. One possible origin of the name is the Kingdom of Kaffa
in Ethiopia, where the coffee plant originated; its name there is bunn or bunna.