From devilish to divine drink. The turbulent history of coffee

in #history14 days ago

Coffee has millions of followers today. Many people cannot imagine a day without a cup of this aromatic drink. It can be drunk in various ways:with milk, alcohol, whipped cream, hot and cold. The list is as long and intricate as ... the history of coffee itself.
Over the centuries, the approach to this drink has changed, and it was considered both a medicine and… a dangerous drug. Importantly, we Poles have a lot of merit in promoting it in Europe.

It is very difficult to define the origins of coffee. It was probably not known in antiquity and in the early Middle Ages. Some sources say that the ancients harvested coffee trees and cooked them with butter and salt, however, they were not cultivated.

One legend, which should be treated as a curiosity, is that between the 6th and 13th centuries a native of Yemen noticed that his goats suddenly became livelier and happier. Interested in this phenomenon, he noticed that they had eaten the coffee beans earlier. So he plucked a handful of them, dried them, then poured boiling water over them and drank. This was how he was going to invent coffee.

Difficult beginnings

According to historians, around the 6th century, coffee from Ethiopia found its way to Arabia. Initially, its grains were eaten, and only later began to brew a drink from it. In the Middle East, drinking coffee became an everyday phenomenon at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. Nevertheless, her followers did not have an easy life.

Many rulers tried to combat this custom by banning coffee. They considered it a dangerous mind stimulant . Orthodox Muslims believed that since Muhammad did not like this drink, the followers of the prophet should not eat it either. So in some Arab countries, coffee lovers of the time were persecuted for their liking.

Despite the initial difficulties, coffee gained more and more popularity, and eventually even earlier persecutors were convinced of it. In the form we know today, it "settled in" Arabia for good in the 16th century, from where it then came to Europe, although the first Turkish cafes, kafehauzy, were already in operation in the 15th century. In the 17th century, coffee was such a common drink in the Ottoman Empire that some sources said that a wife whose husband did not supply enough beans could file for a divorce.

19th century coffee plantation

Europe got to know coffee in 1601, when Athony Sherley brought it to England. Originally known as kaveh, the name it now operates under was given to it by William Parry. She also found many supporters and enemies on the Old Continent. The taste and uniqueness of the black drink quickly gained the sympathy of the intelligentsia and European elites, who were delighted with its wonderful aroma. His opponents considered him a dubious aphrodisiac that harms the complexion and potency and causes infertility.

In Germany, the city council of Leipzig has banned the sale of coffee. In Italy, priests thundered from the pulpit, speaking out against the "devilish drink" that Satan had suggested to the faithful in order to destroy and destroy their souls. The terrified clergy even asked Pope Clement VIII to condemn her, but the Pope, having tasted coffee, liked it so much that he began to drink it regularly and said that it would be a shame to leave this delicacy to the infidels. So he suggested ... baptizing coffee and, out of spite of Satan, making it a truly Christian drink.

Beneficial effects of drinking coffee

The first European cafe opened in London in 1652. Its founder was the Armenian Pasqual Rosee. Importantly, he advertised the coffee served there as an excellent medicine for sick eyes, gout, water dropsy, scurvy and a reliable way to stimulate the heart and mind. for boils and syphilis.


The drink from England reached Paris, where it quickly gained immense popularity. In 1690, there were already 250 cafes in the French capital! Social drinking of coffee has become a new habit there. The fashion for cafes very quickly swept most of Europe, not bypassing Poland as well. They also reached America. In 1689, the first coffee shop on the continent was opened in Boston. In the 18th century, coffee finally reached South America, which was to become its largest producer.

Jan Sebastian Bach even composed "Cantata about coffee"

Source: From devilish to divine drink. The turbulent history of coffee

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