Friday, April 02, 2010

Ah, coffee. Such a history!

I felt obligated. With Tea Parties making the headlines and calling themselves patriotic, I had to do the research. Tea? Nope. Coffee, of course.

According to legend, coffee was discovered by a goatherd who noticed his goats were energetic and happy after eating the berries of a certain bush. Later on, Arabs cultivated this fascinating plant, calling its berries "qahwa" -- literally, that which prevents sleep.
In the 16th century, coffee was so popular with Turks that Turkish law allowed a woman to divorce her husband if he did not provide her with a daily dose.
It's possible that Lloyd's of London began in the 17th Century as a coffeehouse called Edward Lloyd's, a place where merchants and insurance agents met.

The 18th Century was full of coffee history. Coffee spread to the Western Hemisphere, Brazil's coffee industry started as a result of a liaison between a Dutch mediator and the wife of French Guiana's governor. He left her after the conflict was resolved, but he left her with a bouquet in which he hid the seeds of a new crop and a whole new industry.
J.S. Bach composed his Kaffee Kantate (why didn't I learn this in my History of Baroque Music in college?) dedicated to while at the same time mocking women who dared sip the devastating brew thought to make them sterile. It contains an aria with the lyrics announcing, "Ah! How sweet coffee taste! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than muscatel wine! I must have my coffee." Ah, Johann, I couldn't have said it better myself.
Toward the end of the 18th century I found my favorite piece of coffee history:

1773: The Boston Tea Party makes drinking coffee a patriotic duty in America.

There you have it, folks. Forget the so-called Tea Parties. Ever since the Sons of Liberty trashed the merchant ships, the fact remains: True patriotism is grounded in coffee.
Pun intended.

I used several sources to find the facts for this post, but the most useful was this: A History of Coffee Timeline. Pour yourself a cuppa and enjoy.

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Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

This entire post was just awesome. And now? I need a cup of joe.

4/03/2010 2:24 PM  

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