Clever Monks & Dancing Goats

On this day in 1817, Kona coffee was first planted on the Island of Hawaii.  Coffee was discovered in 800 A.D. by Ethiopian goat herders.  Legend claims a shepherd noticed his goats dancing after munching on coffee berries.  Hearing this story, an inquisitive monk—let’s call him Peete Starbuck—decided to brew these magical goat dancing berries, and voilà, the first cup of coffee was born.  Peete Starbuck didn’t break into a jig, but he did have trouble sleeping that night.

Kona coffee berries
Kona Coffea Plant Photo courtesy of hawaiianwellness.com

Coffee beans come from the seeds (pits) of the cherry-like fruit of the coffea plant.  After roasting, these seeds resemble beans, hence the term coffee bean.  There are two types of coffee beans, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica accounts for approximately 70% of the world’s coffee beans. The less popular Robusta bean is slightly smaller, more bitter, but has twice the amount of caffeine.

Kona coffee is a blend of both Arabica and Robusta beans. Also known as the honeymoon coffee, Kona is harvested on a 30-mile strip of land, beneath the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa volcanoes.  The high acidity of the volcanic soil, and the tropical weather, make the Kona District an ideal place to grow coffee.

Whether you like your java hot, iced, pressed, whipped, with cream or without, raise your mug in honor of that clever 9th century monk, and of course those dancing (screaming?!) goats.  😉

Strange & Gross Fact: The most expensive coffee in the world ($600/lb.) comes from cat poop. I’m not kidding! The Luwak is a Sumatran wild cat that cannot digest coffea seeds.  Instead, the seeds ferment in the Luwak’s stomach and once excreted, turn into a smooth, chocolate-like coffee bean.  Some sorry slob has to then “process” the beans.  Who pays $600 a pound for what is basically cat poop?!

Fun Hawaiian Fact:  Hawaii is made up of 8 islands.  It gained statehood on August 21, 1959.  Hawaii has its own time zone, and is the only US state to produce coffee.  The Hawaiian alphabet contains only 12 letters.

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