The brew made from fermenting and roasting the cherry-like coffee berry is often called “the wine of Islam.” The first credible reference to somebody drinking coffee came from Sufi monastics in Yemen, which is just across the Red Sea from Ethiopia, home of the wild plant. Our word mocha is actually the name of the Yemeni port that for centuries shipped its fruits. When the Dutch later hijacked some of the bushes for their colony in Indonesia, they added the word Java. The fact that coffee’s native terrain matched Islam’s, and that its brew provided quick alcohol-free stimulation for prayer and sociability for the exchange of ideas, gave it such instant appeal, coffee-drinking spread around the globe with Islam. Coffeehouses were an Arab innovation.
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