Origin Story | The Rev. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

09.8.23 | Community, International, Pulpit Posts, World

For many people, drinking coffee is a non-negotiable morning ritual. If you are one of those people who love waking up with a cup of caffeinated elixir (at any hour!), you might be interested to know how coffee started to become the world-wide phenomenon it is today.

In the 16th century, a devoted Sufi named Baba Budan made a pilgrimage to Mecca. On his way home, he stopped in Yemen and while there he was offered a strange, dark drink. He had never tried coffee before; at that time, it was a hyper-localized specialty. Coffee trees were only grown in one small geographic area. To keep the monopoly secure and ensure it stayed that way, only roasted beans (that could not be planted) were exported. The penalty for taking raw beans out of the country was death!

Baba Budan’s fascination with coffee was so strong that he did not fear the consequences of bringing unroasted coffee out of Arabia. He picked seven beans (seven being a sacred number in Islam), hid them in his beard, and smuggled them back to his home in southern India. When he returned, he planted the seeds, which grew into seven coffee trees—the first arabica coffee grown on Indian soil.

Coffee is probably not the first thing we think of when we consider what would inspire us to risk our lives (depending on the morning in question, of course!). But this story, like so many others, reminds us that meaningful change grows out of action, and action starts with commitment. The movement from the end of summer into the beginning of fall offers opportunities for reflection about what really matters to us. To what will we commit, or re-commit, knowing that God, in Christ, commits to us first?

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson


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