Just think about it: Before coffee and the Enlightenment, the drink of choice, morning, noon, and night, throughout the Middle Ages, was BEER! Peasants and masters throughout Europe were shitfaced drunk day in and day out! No wonder it took 200 years to build a gothic cathedral! People were too drunk to function.
Along comes coffee. Discovered in Ethiopia (we'll get to that story), coffee was traded to Yemen. By the middle of the Fifteen Century coffee reached Aden. One early coffee disciple, the Mufti of Aden, reported in 1454 that coffee drove away fatigue and lethargy, and brought to the body a certain sprightliness and vigor!
The Turks discovered coffee and opened the world's very first coffee house in Istanbul in 1554. Coffee was not well received by the conservative establishment. Conservative imams feared coffee's stimulating effects. Prohibition was instituted, but to little avail. The popularity of coffee among the masses was so great that the Ottoman Turkish Sultan Selim I issued a celebrated fatwa allowing the consumption of coffee!
Once established in Africa, the fabled merchants of Venice imported coffee to Europe. Venetian coffee houses became the first coffee emporia to jack up the price of coffee. Just as in Africa, the conservative establishment in Europe feared the stimulating effects of coffee and tried to ban the drink. Ultimately Pope Clement VIII in 1600 sanctified the use of coffee by Catholics everywhere, leading to the drink's acceptance across Europe.
Come coffee, come the Enlightenment! Suddenly people had energy and vigor. Coffee houses encouraged thinking, writing, and the debate of new ideas. The Enlightenment was born! You get the gist of the story. We could go on and on. But don't take our word for it, even though we do have a Ph.D. in history. Read philosopher Stephen Hicks on Coffee and the Enlightenment.
Every religion needs its saints and devas. The Church of Kaffa certainly has its own. Starting with the King of the Birds and deva Garuda, and the prophet Kaldi.
Kaldi was a lowly Ethiopian goat herder, who in about the Ninth Century, discovered the Tree of Life, the Coffea arabica or Coffee tree. Kaldi noticed that his goats became unusually energized after eating a certain local berry. He sampled the berry with the same effect. Excited about this miracle, he rushed to share the berries with his local Muslim holy man, or imam. The holy man was so disgusted with the berries he tossed them in a fire and stormed away. Kaldi however noticed an entrancing aroma coming from the berries in the fire, so he recovered the burnt berries and tossed them in some water, thus creating the world's first cup of coffee. The foundation myth for the world and religion of coffee.