The International Coffee Day is a celebration of the coffee sector’s diversity, quality and passion as well as an opportunity for coffee lovers to share their love of the beverage and support the millions of farmers whose livelihoods depend on the aromatic crop. The day has been used as an an occasion to promote and celebrate coffee as a beverage, with events occurring across the world. Many countries around the world celebrate their own national coffee days at various dates throughout the year. In March 2014, the member states of the International Coffee Organisation agreed to organise International Coffee Day on 1 October to create a single day of celebration for coffee lovers around the world and the first celebration was celebrated in 2015 in Milan as part of the Expo 2015. The day is also used to promote fair trade coffee and to raise awareness for the plight of the coffee growers with many businesses offering free or discounted cups of coffee.
According to one legend, coffee was discovered by the ancestors of today’s Oromo people in a region of Kaffa in Ethiopia who recognised the energizing effect of the coffee plant. However, no direct evidence that has been found earlier than the 15th century indicating who among the African populations used it as a stimulant, or where coffee was first cultivated. Another legend attributes the discovery of coffee to a Sheikh Omar. According to an old chronicle preserved in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript. Omar, who was known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer, was once exiled from Mocha in Yemen to a desert cave near Ousab in modern-day Wusab. Starving, Omar chewed berries from nearby shrubbery but found them to be too bitter. He tried roasting the seeds to improve the flavor, but they became hard. He then tried boiling them to soften the seed, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid. Upon drinking the liquid Omar was revitalized and sustained for days. It was in Arabia that coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed, in a similar way to how it is prepared now and used used by Sufi mystics to stay awake. Shortly after, coffee became well known in Egypt, Persia, and Turkey as the wine of Araby and coffee houses started to open as the schools of the wise. Coffee farming on a large scale started in southern India and in 1560 coffee made its way through Europe and quickly became popular, until Pope Clement VIII decided that the drink must be satanic though under inspection, he gave in and baptised the drink and declared it a Christian drink. By the 1600s coffee houses sprung up all over Europe and the beans found themselves in America.
And today, this bean makes a daily journey from plantations to breakfast mugs across the world. Us humans have been preparing coffee for many presentations as drinks, candies, medicine, and some ancient civilizations even used it as currency! Coffee can energize you, warm you up, refresh you, keep you awake, and even catch you up with your loved ones.
The theme of International Coffee Day 2021 highlights the mistreatment of coffee farmers, the danger they are facing for their living and the ultimate need to take collective actions. The money that coffee farmers are compensated for the beans they create is at an all-time low. The modern-day coffee farmers aren’t earning enough to supply themselves and fulfill the needs of their families and may need to switch away from making coffee altogether- putting the production of this beverage at risk. Today there is a worldwide oversupply of coffee which is pushing down the market price. At the same time the expense of coffee-production has increased which means farmers do not make enough income to survive. Though we are paying more for a cup of coffee, farmers are compensated just around USD 0.01 or one penny for a cup of coffee.
Caffeine is a stimulant that increases activity in the central nervous system. It can increase energy levels and alertness, plus it improves mental performance. According to a study in Harvard, coffee drinkers tend to live longer, plus they have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Coffee is the second largest traded commodity right after crude oil, and the most consumed beverage, after water. Every society has its own coffee tradition.
Grab a cup of your favourite coffee and celebrate this wonderful and addictive drink!