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Ethiopian Coffee

The story of coffee has its beginnings in Ethiopia, the original home of the coffee plant in a region of Kaffa , from which its name derives and which still grows wild in the forest of the highlands. A goatherd named Kaldi who one day noticed that his normally docile goats had suddenly become exceptionally lively. On closer investigation Kaldi discovered his goats were nibbling the bright red berries from a shiny, dark-leafed shrub nearby.

Bravely the goatherd tasted these berries himself and soon found, to his amazement that he felt extraordinarily stimulated and invigorated. Convinced that he had discovered a miracle, Kaldi picked some more of the berries and rushed off with them to announce his discovery to his wife. "They are heaven-sent," she declared. "You must take them to the Monks in the monastery."
Kaldi presented the chief Monk with a handful of berries and related his discovery of their miraculous effect. "Devil’s work!" exclaimed the Monk, and flung the berries in the fire , whereupon a delicious and exotic aroma soon filled the air. Hastily the other monks, raked the beans from the fire and crushed to extinguish the embers. The Monk ordered the grains to be placed in the ewer and covered with hot water to preserve their goodness. That night the monks sat up drinking the rich and fragrant brew, and from that day vowed they would drink it daily to keep them awake during their long, nocturnal devotions.

The practice of mixing ground coffee beans with ghee (purified butter) persists to this day in some parts of Kaffa and Sidamo, two of the principle coffee producing regions of Ethiopia. In Kaffa , from which the name "Coffee" derives, the drink is brewed today with the addition of melted ghee which gives it a distinctive, buttery flavour.
Ethiopian coffee is locally known as 'Buna', it is believed that the word named after one of the coffee plant region of Ethiopia called 'Buno'. Today those self-same berries, dried, roasted and ground, have become the world’s second most popular non-alcoholic beverage after tea.

COFFEE is the most important plant in Ethiopia, valued for its economic, spiritual, social and religious significance. For the memory of the origin of 'Coffee', a picture of a coffee plant is printed and viewed on our 5 and 100 birr money notes.