According to legend, Kaldi was the Ethiopian goatherder who discovered the coffee plant
"The myth of Kaldi the Ethiopian goatherd and his dancing goats, the coffee origin story most frequently encountered in Western literature, embellishes the credible tradition that the Sufi encounter with coffee occurred in Ethiopia, which lies just across the narrow passage of the Red Sea from Arabia's western coast."

Kaldi, noticing the energizing effects when his flock nibbled on the bright red berries of a certain bush (they had become dancing goats), chewed on the fruit himself. His exhilaration prompted him to bring the berries to an Islamic holy man in a nearby monastery. But the holy man disapproved of their use and threw them into the fire, from which an enticing aroma billowed. The roasted beans were quickly raked from the embers, ground up, and dissolved in hot water, yielding the world's first cup of coffee.

The green coffee beans have no flavor or aroma and are just a pale green shadow of their future dark brown selves. All of the flavor and aroma that we enjoy in coffee is created by roasting the beans.

Green coffee beans are heated to between 180ºC and 240ºC for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the degree of roast required. The longer the coffee is roasted the darker it becomes. During the roasting process moisture is lost and the bean "pops" audibly rather like popcorn. A chemical reaction takes place: starches are converted into sugar, proteins are broken down and the whole cellular structure of the bean is altered. The heating process precipitates the release of coffee oil, or what is called "caffeol", which is the essence of coffee.

This essence of coffee is what we enjoy in the cup. It is also volatile and water soluble, so once the coffee beans have been roasted until dark, the flavor can be damaged by moisture, light and especially by oxygen.

While there are several different coffee species, two main species of coffee are cultivated today. Coffea arabica, known as Arabica coffee, accounts for 75-80 percent of the world's production. Coffea canephora, known as Robusta coffee, accounts for about 20 percent and differs from the Arabica coffees in terms of taste. While Robusta coffee beans are more robust than the Arabica plants, Robusta produces an inferior tasting beverage with a higher caffeine content.