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Kaldi or Khalid was a legendary Arab[1] Ethiopian goatherd who is credited for discovering the coffee plant around 850 CE, according to popular legend, after which such crop entered the Islamic world and then the rest of the world.



The story is probably apocryphal, as it was first related by Antoine Faustus Nairon, a Maronite Roman professor of Oriental languages and author of one of the first printed treatises devoted to coffee, De Saluberrima potione Cahue seu Cafe nuncupata Discurscus (Rome, 1671).[2][3]

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.[4]



In modern times, "Kaldi Coffee" or "Kaldi's Coffee" and "Dancing Goat" or "Wandering Goat" are popular names for coffee shops and coffee roasting companies around the world.[5] The biggest coffee chain in Ethiopia is called Kaldi's.


  1. ^
    • Colonna-Dashwood, Maxwell (7 September 2017). The Coffee Dictionary: An A-Z of coffee, from growing & roasting to brewing & tasting. Octopus. ISBN 978-1-78472-302-6. Kaldi, an Arab Ethiopian goatherd, is said to have found his goats dancing in the forest in south-west Ethiopia sometime in the ninth century.
    • Driem, George L. van (14 January 2019). The Tale of Tea: A Comprehensive History of Tea from Prehistoric Times to the Present Day. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-39360-8. In Ukers' book, a young Arabian goatherd named Kaldi, afflicted with melancholy, followed the example of his frolicking goats and ate the coffee berries from the trees.
    • Brookshier, Frank (1 June 2001). The Burro. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-3338-6. Another tale and one that is commonly accepted is the story of a ninth-century Arab goatherd named Kaldi.
    • Myhrvold, Nathan (11 September 2023). "Coffee". www.britannica.com. One of many legends about the discovery of coffee is that of Kaldi, an Arab goatherd who was puzzled by the strange antics of his flock
  2. ^ Noted by H. F. Nicolai, Der Kaffee und seine Ersatzmittel: Volkshygienische Studie, (Brunswick, 1901) ch. 1 "Geschichtliches über den Kaffee" p. 4 note 1.
  3. ^ Banesio, Fausto Naironio (1671). De saluberrima potione cahue, seu cafe nuncupata discursus Fausti Naironi Banesii Maronitae, linguae Chaldaicae, seu Syriacae in almo vrbis archigymnasio lectoris ad eminentiss. ... D. Io. Nicolaum S.R.E. card. . (in Latin). Typis Michaelis Herculis.
  4. ^ Weinberg, Bennett Alan; Bealer, Bonnie K. (2001). The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-92722-2., page 3
  5. ^ For example, Kaldi - Wholesale Gourmet Coffee Roasters, Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Company, Kaldi's Coffee House, or a Google search for "Kaldi" Wandering Goat Coffee Company Dancing Goat Cafe All accessed 12 September 2006.

Further reading