There are several stories of the origin of coffee, here are several abstracts from the Saturday, October 31, 1903, Wilmington, Morning News.
A legend runs that it was first found growing wild in Arabia.
Hadji Omar, a muslim who was known to be able to cure illness by prayers was exiled from Mocha Yemen in 1285 to the Ousab desert. Starving in the wilderness he found an evergreen plant with small brown berries and tried to eat them but they were too bitter. He roasted them and then steeped them in water and found the extract refreshed him as if he had eaten solid food. He hurried back to Mocha and invited the wise men to try his discovery. They were so well pleased with it that they made his a saint.
Another story is told that coffee was introduced into the West Indies in 1723 by Chirac, a French Physician, who gave Captain DeClieux of the Normandy Infantry who was on his way to Martinique a single plant which was poorly nourished during a stormy sea voyage because of the scarcity of water. Although weak it survived and was planted in DeClieuxs' garden and allowed to grow until the years end when he gathered the brown berry’s, perhaps two pounds or so, had them distributed among the Islands inhabitants to plant. Soon Martinique coffee trees were being sent to neighboring islands , Santo Domingo, Guadaloupe and others.
The coffee tree is an evergreen shrub and grows to fourteen to seventeen feet high, the berries grow on the branches, close to the leaves. It has to be grown below the frost line and does best at the altitude of 4000 feet. Coffee has never been successfully produced in the United States.