The Early History of Coffee - An Abridged Version
Coffee was discovered in approximately 850 AD by a goat herder who noticed that his goats became energetic after eating berries from a particular tree. The goat herder reported his findings to a local monastery, where they then made a drink with the berries.
This drink kept them alert and focused. This information would soon be disseminated to other monasteries and eventually to the Arabian peninsula.
The Origins of the Social Side of Coffee
By the 16th century, coffee houses began to pop up that encouraged and fueled an exchange of ideas. One could say that it was at this point that people started to see the value of the social gathering centered around coffee.
By the 17th century, coffee would eventually make its way to Europe, with the coffee house making its mark as a social gathering place. People saw value in the gatherings centered around this drink.
The local coffee shops would not only be places to socialize, they would also become places where business, innovation, and commerce would advance. We can all attest to the value that a good cup of coffee brings to a conversation.
Coffee Comes to America
So how did coffee make it to the United States? According to scholars, American interest in coffee began the moment it was colonized. Pilgrims and travelers who would have been part of the colonization would have undoubtedly experienced coffee in Europe before leaving. They would bring their interest with them as they traveled and settled in America.
A survey of history indicates that coffeehouses were part of the early American colonies and clustered around port cities. While there is some debate around what single event or place officially propelled coffee to become the iconic drink of America, it is believed by some that the Boston Tea Party was this catalyst.
If this is the case, then the preferred drink in America would have officially switched from tea to coffee in 1773. Thomas Jefferson declared that coffee was the favorite drink of the civilized world.
Maybe this was a jab at our tea-loving friends, or perhaps it was just a pithy statement made by a politician. Who really knows? All we know is that coffee landed on the shore of America and became an icon soon after.
Although we can debate when coffee became more important than tea, it is safe to say that coffee has always had strong roots that point back to colonial America.
So, the next time you have an opportunity to enjoy your favorite coffee cup, you can thank a goat and a very observant goat herder for their enormous contribution to society. America, great conversations, all night driving, late-night studying, and yes, even our favorite beloved cycling can thank them too.
Beyond Practical Implications and Lessons for the Cyclist
So what does this mean? The bottom line for you and me is this. Just like the goat herder, be observant.
Be an attentive mom. Be a watchful dad. Be an observant human.
You could be the one who brings the next innovative thing to this world.
Observation is part of life. It is also part of cycling. Cyclists have to be observant.
Paying attention is not only critical for safety while cycling on and off-road. It is also necessary for the protection and operation of your bike. The skillful cyclist also knows that taking time to inspect equipment is paramount to its proper function.
May I also suggest that in addition to the safety and physical benefits of cycling, additional benefits encompassing the social and personal aspects exist?
It’s life-giving to go outside and simply enjoy a good bike ride. Making space for unstructured time on a bike can be life-giving. When you go out on your bike, you observe the world, oftentimes in a new, refreshing way.
Taking Time to Make Moments is the Most Important Lesson
Coffee and cycling are two great hobbies that have allowed me to reflect on my life. I have found with cycling, my sweet spot for training includes taking intentional downtime.
Like many of you, I go between structured training and racing throughout the year. I recently challenged myself to begin to take at least one day each week to go outside and enjoy a ride.
I don’t focus on watts, I don’t worry about Strava segments, and I permit myself to get lost on at least one weekly mini-adventure. The results have been incredible.
On a recent adventure, I snapped a few photos for Strava and my socials because we all know that it didn’t technically happen if you don’t get at least one picture or post it to Strava.
Here is a panoramic photo of the Matanzas Inlet (Located in NorthEast Florida) that I took a few days back. I was hoping you could do me a favor, open this picture up, and stretch it across your screen.
Can you smell the salt air? Can you feel the breeze? Can you hear the waves crashing?
If you look closely, you will see no fewer than five people in this picture enjoying a special moment, each with a different perspective. I like my view, though. I was able to capture all of their moments and call it mine.
What a Perspective!
I can appreciate their moments as part of mine! It reminded me that we all came to the inlet that morning to take a pause, to clear the mind, and to enjoy a moment.
When we cycle or enjoy great coffee, we have opportunities to make extraordinary moments and get to share great moments with others. Remember, you bring a perspective to life that others don’t have, and others bring an attitude to life that you need to know.
Don’t be afraid to share your perspective with others.
You Are One Intentional Moment Away From Awesome
Just like the goat herder who observed with his moment, you may be one intentional moment away from discovering something great personally or vocationally! With this said, always remember that our watts may go up and down over time, but no one can ever take the moments you intentionally make away from you.
Next in Line to Order
In the next post, you can expect to learn about the different types of roast. Whether you are a novice or a home roaster, you will find this interesting!
Like good friends parting ways after a long ride and a good cup of coffee, I will say this. I look forward to our next journey together. Travel safe, and may your coffee be strong and your watts high!
Drink Coffee! Do Good!
Until then, I want to encourage you to visit www.highwatt.coffee. You will find coffee curated by cyclists and roasted by an award-winning roaster. If you see something you like, know that $2/bag will go directly to the DIRT Dad Fund. Who says you can’t drink coffee and do good?