Ah- coffee!

Whether you call it Joe, Java, Brain Juice, Morning Mud, Mojo, or Mother’s Little Helper, it is an integral part of the waking-up routine of billions of people all over the world. But where did it come from?

Here’s a little sip of history about this ever-popular elixir.

Legend has it that coffee originated on the continent of Africa sometime during the first millennium, probably around 800 AD. The African climate is conducive to the growth of this rich-smelling bean, and so there is, in all likelihood, some truth to the tales.

But it was in ancient Arabia, circa 1000 AD that coffee was first consumed in its present form: by roasting the beans and brewing it into a liquid picker-upper.

Muslims embraced its wake up properties, and these nomadic peoples took it with them in their travels and introduced coffee to other parts of the world.

It wasn’t until the Renaissance that coffee began to be grown outside of African and Arabian regions. More legends suggest that Arabians rendered exported beans infertile before shipment in order to retain exclusive growing rights.

But an enterprising young Indian named Baba Budan smuggled fertile beans to the European continent, where the natives quickly planted their own stashes of jamming java.

Although the Turks made a notoriously strong concoction, it was the Dutch who really mass-marketed their version of coffee by giving it as gifts to various and assorted members of European aristocracy. It became a favorite in the exalted courts of Louis XIV, where the Sun King jealously guarded his own plants against thieves.

But the young enterprising Gabriel De Clieu, from the island of Martinique, did manage to abscond with one of Louis’ plants.

That little bundle of beans thrived in Martinique’s tropical climate and from that humble beginning arose a family of 18 million trees!

In 1727, Francisco Palheta was sent by the Brazilian government to smuggle some beans of his own out of Martinique: the original thief would thus become the victim.

He cozied up to the governor’s wife, and she gave him a bouquet of flowers as a farewell gift upon his departure- with coffee beans hidden inside!

From those few beans came a Brazilian coffee producing machine: coffee was grown with such ease in Brazil’s lush climate that it was no longer considered a luxury item.

Over the centuries, coffee has transformed itself from ambrosia of the Gods into a working-class necessity.

However, those who still want to indulge themselves in luxury can opt for the gourmet varieties of this amazing beverage, and perhaps imagine themselves back in the jungles of Martinique.