Well, not quite, it was the 9th century. And it was in Ethiopia. A goatherd named Kaldi noticed that his bleating protégés were quite jolly and playful after they had eaten some cherries from the coffee bush (we doubt though, that it went by this name back then). To find out, if their splendid mood really came from the cherries, Kaldi – who apparently was a brave man – tried them himself and felt refreshed and awake. That is at least how it is being told since the 16th century. The legend lives.
Slave traders were presumably the ones who widely spread the coffee. It is being said that the Yemenites operated the first “plantations” already in the Middle Ages, between 1300 and 1400, near Mocha (nomen est omen).
By the way: The term “Coffee“ derives from the Arabic word “Kabwe” or “Qahwa”, which means as much as vitality or strength. Makes sense.