The best-known story dates back to the 7th century and takes us as far away as Ethiopia. Kaldi the goatherd discovered his goats prancing about energetically, even at night, after he spotted them eating some red berries. Curious, the man took the seeds to a monastery, where they were roasted, ground and mixed with boiling water, thus creating a beverage which helped the monks ward off sleep during nighttime prayers. It was the beginning of a series of numerous legends, handed down over the centuries to our modern times.
Popularised in Europe in the early 1600s by Venetian merchants, it became the favourite beverage of poets, writers and businessmen.
Its stimulating properties together with the slow pleasure of its enjoyment, made the fortunes of the great literary cafés: including the legendary Florian and Quadri in Venice, Pedrocchi in Padua, Tommaseo in Trieste, the much-renowned Greco in Rome and Gambrinus in Naples.