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Without further ado, Susan asks via Green Mountain Coffee's Twitter page :
What's this story about goats and coffee beans?
A few years back, Mark Pendergrast wrote a great book about the history of coffee called "Uncommon Grounds". If you go to page 4 and 5, you can read a good account of the fable which has become kind of a discovery myth of coffee. An Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi spends his days with his goats out grazing . Then one day he notices the goats eating the waxy leaves and red cherries of what we now know of as a coffee tree. The story goes that the goats get a coffee buzz – I mean, why else would they dance about and be that frisky? So Kaldi decided to eats some leaves, too, and then HE gets a coffee buzz and decides that this coffee things may have something to it . A couple of hundred years later, everyone is making jokes about how it's hard to turn around without bumping into a coffee shop.
That's the folk tale, at least. Probably many people in Ethiopia discovered the unique properties of coffee at the same time. If you were hungry and roaming around and saw some red ripe berries, wouldn't you want to try them? Honestly, they're not bad when ripe , but they taste nothing like a fresh raspberry or strawberry, more like honey dew melon with some lemon mixed in.
I own goats - 5 French Alpines named Brandie, Blacky, Rhu, Lulu Bell, and Dixie . Before owning them I had always been impressed with word of "dancing goats". Then I became a goatherder myself and saw my own goats "dance". They get up on their hind legs sometimes to reach up higher to get at tree branches and leaves. They LOVE to browse. When I am out in their pasture walking them around (yes, we go on hikes), they will dance around sometimes, in our case withOUT any caffeine. They dance about and act frisky as a general rule, so I'm a little skeptical about the dancing goats on a coffee buzz. I'm not going to question the legend of Kaldi, the most famous goatherd, just adding some "perspective" from a very amateur fellow goatherd.