According to legend, Omar was known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer. He was once exiled from the ancient port of Mocha to the hills of Africa.
Starving, Omar chewed the berries of a nearby tree and found the seeds hard and bitter. He roasted and then boiled the seeds in water. When he drank the fragrant liquid he was immediately revitalized and sustained for many days.
Local patients sought medical advice from the exiled healer. They tried his beverage and were cured of their ailments. When stories of this miracle spread to Mocha, Omar was asked to return and was made a saint.
For a complete history of coffee’s origins and evolution, check out All About Coffee (1922) by William H. Ukers on Google Books. A coffee expert who traveled the world for research, Ukers goes into greater detail about the story of Omar and provides several other legends of coffee’s early beginnings.