The Legend of Kaldi

If you’ve ever visited a Crazy Mocha store, you’ve certainly been greeted by the smiling goat on our logo. Upon seeing this, you might have asked yourself: what does a goat have to do with coffee?

When Ken Zeff purchased the first store that would become Crazy Mocha, it was called “The Dancing Goats Coffee.” While many people do not see the connection between goats and coffee, the story of the dancing goats is integral to the history of our favorite drink. The popular Ethiopian legend is that a goat herder named Kaldi was tending to his flock in the mountains when he began to notice that some of the goats were dancing with excess energy – even the old ones! He looked around to find what might be causing his goats to act so “crazy,” and discovered little red berries growing from a certain shrub. He tried one of the berries himself, and instantly felt renewed energy course through his body, just like his goats! By eating these berries, Kaldi and his goats discovered the benefits of the Coffea plant for the very first time.

When Kaldi returned to his village, he shared the berries and their power with the local monastery. The abbot made a tea-like beverage with the leaves of the shrub, and the monks found that this brew kept them awake during their long evening prayers, through which they were often caught snoozing. This discovery is heralded as the very beginning of the beverage we now call “coffee.”

Kaldi’s story is only a legend, but because no one truly knows how the coffee plant was discovered, it is a popular explanation. Most historians agree that the drink originated in Ethiopia, so the legend of the dancing goats helps us imagine how people might have learned to use the coffee plant to make beverages, even if they didn’t originally begin with roasting the beans. So, next time you see the goat on our Crazy Mocha logo, you can feel connected to the history of our favorite brew while sipping on a cup of your own!