How much do you really know about your cup of coffee?


Ben Kiewel

A simple cup of coffee can hold a long story, with many people involved.

Ben Kiewel, Journalist

So many people enjoy coffee every day however most don’t really know anything about its origins.

The first coffee plant grew in Ethiopia. How exactly it was discovered is debated but the most popular origin story involves a goat herder. This goat herder noticed his goats wouldn’t sleep one night, in fact, they were prancing and braying all over. He found out they had been feeding on red berries, a coffee plant. From there the popularity of the drink spread.  Yemen quickly became the main exporter of coffee. A port in Mohka, Yemen, became the center of the coffee trade, sending coffee beans all across the world.

This is surprising to most people because today Yemen is embroiled in civil wars and infighting.

Ethiopia has restarted its coffee trade and made a name for itself among coffee aficionados, but Yemen has not been so fortunate. Other countries have overtaken the coffee trade leaving Yemen in the dust. Along with the fighting, farmers in Yemen have resorted to growing and selling qat, a narcotic plant worth much more than coffee. Farmers also have to contend with loan sharks who buy their crops and extort them.

Coffee farmers in Yemen are being taken advantage of and losing opportunities. If this spurs you into action look into purchasing Fairtrade coffee. That will make sure the coffee you are buying supports farmers in a fair way. You could look into charities helping the crisis in Yemen and help bring an end to the constant war.