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Wake up and Smell the Coffee
Some people cannot imagine starting the day without a cup of coffee. From the most fashionable cafes of Paris to the breakfast stands lining the streets of Taipei, coffee has firmly established itself as one of the world's favorite beverages. For such a well-loved drink, however, few people are aware of its curious origins.
As legend goes, coffee berries were first discovered in 850 by an Ethiopian goat herder who noticed his goats were much friskier after having eaten the red berries of a local bush. After trying the berries himself, the goat herder felt much more energetic than usual. He disseminated the news about the wonderful berry, and soon monks were hailing it as an elixir and drinking the brew to stay awake during evening prayers.
Although coffee originated on the plateaus of Ethiopia, it was the Arabs who first cultivated it around 1100. They were also the first people to roast it and boil it. By 1475, people in Constantinople were enjoying a cup of coffee in the world's first coffee shop. Coffee spread to Europe around 1600 and to the New World seven years later.
These days, it seems you can get a cup of coffee just about everywhere you go. Every year, coffee lovers consume more than 400 billion cups of one of the world's biggest commodities-second only to oil.