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It is widely believed that the Oromo people started using coffee as early as the 10th century AD, although not as a drink but mixed with edible fat to create small balls that people chewed on to ward off tiredness. It was an ideal snack to carry on long and tiring journeys.

There are a couple of stories about how coffee was discovered in Ethiopia. The most famous one is a story about a goat herder named Kaldi. However, the Oromo culture has their own story about how coffee was discovered. The story is as follows:

“The supreme being Waaqa (the sky god in traditional Oromo culture) once had to punish one of his loyal servants for a crime. The punishment was death. After the sentence was passed, Waaqa found out that the man was innocent. Unfortunately, it was too late to save him because the sentence had already been carried out, and the man was dead. Filled with grief, Waaqa visited the man’s grave and wept. As the tears from Waaqa’s eyes watered the ground, a new plant sprung up from the ground – coffee. Because the plant was watered by Waaqa’s tears, and not by water, coffee is considered a special plant in traditional Oromo culture.”

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