6 Ways Coffee Helped Transform the World

More than five centuries ago, when coffee was a localized crop in the East African territories of Ethiopia and Yemen, Arab Sufi monks used the drink for a purpose similar to what people drink today: get a boost to stay awake. Their goal at the time? To reach divine consciousness in midnight prayers.

On its centuries-old path to becoming a global commodity and a global drink, coffee has been a tool to build empires and fuel an industrial revolution. And it was sometimes a not-so-hidden driving force behind human exploitation, slavery, and violent civil war.

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