Coffee is the signature drink around the developed world. The history of coffee began in Africa, where sometime around 650 AD a young goatherd in Ethiopia noticed that after eating certain berries his goats would prance and frolic wildly about. He tasted the berries only to find himself enlivened too, his sleepiness gone, his senses alert.
Legend claims that it was desert monks who learned to roast the bitter beans and distill them into a drink. They saw coffee as a gift of God, allowing them to stay awake at night in prayer.
Another legend relates that the Angel Gabriel brewed a potent elixir for the dying prophet Mohammed. Flushed with its divine power, the prophet rose from his deathbed, strode into battle, unsaddled 40 horsemen and went on to create the religion of Islam.
Between the 11th and 16th centuries, coffee followed the Islamic expansion into Syria, Turkey, Persia and across North Africa from Egypt to Tunisia, across to Spain and from there into Europe and round the world. Coffee was a medicine as well as a pick-me-up, and over the centuries it centered in coffeehouses, where to this day people meet to trade stories, work, socialize, pound their computer keys and drink the dark rich brew.
Ah, coffee! How many of us, as we drink a latte, think to bless the Archangel Gabriel, angel of Revelation whose name means Hero of God, who taught the roasting and uses of this angelic drink; or the Archangel Michael, the youthful warrior, whose name means Looks Like God and who probably drinks it for power and strength; or the Archangel Uriel, whose name means Light of God, bringer of insight, clarity and prophecies, the light of knowledge of God; and let us not forget the Archangel Raphael, the Divine Healer who watches over all humanity, especially pilgrims and travelers, stumbling sleepily from airport to train, assisted by the healing properties of a morning coffee, an espresso or a Turkish sweetened spoonful of divinity.