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Nothing about how to make coffee, but here's a

April 29 2006 at 6:43 PM
Belasco  (no login)

Response to Is the coffee important? >>

Turkish proverb: Black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love.

That's what they expect from their coffee.

I once researched the origin of coffee and coffee shops, because in former centuries coffee was frequently the cause great controversy and many political conflicts:

Here are some notes I pulled up, no longer recall the sources:

The world's first coffee shop, Kiva Han, opened in 1475 in Constantinople. Coffee houses become centers of political and religious debate, so much so that Sultan Amurat III had the coffee houses closed and their proprietors tortured. Coffee was declared mekreet, 'undesirable'. The vizier Mahomet Kolpili went further and had the coffee houses razed to the ground, their more conspicuous customers sewn into leather sacks and thrown into the Bosphorus.

Turkish law made it legal for a woman to divorce her husband if he failed to provide her with her daily quota of coffee.

Coffee arrived in Europe in the seventeenth century with Italian traders. Pope Clement VIII initially urged his advisers to consider the favorite drink of the Ottoman Empire to be part of the infidel threat. After one sip, however, he decided to baptize it instead, making it an acceptable Christian beverage.

In 1683 Franz Kolshitsky, a former prisoner of the Turks, bought up all the coffee beans left behind at the siege of Vienna, when the Turks were beaten by the King of Poland. Kolshitsky opened up the first coffee house in Vienna and soon headed a chain of establishments throughout Central Europe. Word spread to Paris, where the Italian Francisco Procopio dei Celtelli opened the city's first salon - the Cafe Procope.

In England King Charles II raged against coffee houses as centers of sedition. They were meeting points for writers and businessmen. The Lloyds insurance business started in the back room of a coffee house in 1689.

Convinced of the poisonous effects of both tea and coffee, King Gustavus III of Sweden ordered the reprieve of two condemned criminals, provided one drank coffee and the other tea in vast quantities every day. The College of Physicians was to dissect them when they died and confirm the dangers of the drugs. But the criminals outlived both the judge and the physicians, while the king himself was assassinated.

The French philosopher Montesquieu complained: 'Were I the King, I would close the cafes, for the people who frequent those places heat their brains in a very tiresome manner.'


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