How did coffee affect history?

In doing so, it boosted creativity, revolutions, new business ventures, literature, music and slavery. The coffee shops that were developed in Austria, Great Britain and France after their introduction to Europe served as meeting places for intellectuals, artists and radicals alike. It is said that the seeds of a plot to assassinate Charles II in 17th century Britain were sown in a coffee shop with cups of coffee. They were public places, known as Kaveh Kanes, where people met for the same reasons they go to Starbucks today, to have a coffee and talk, to discover and share the news of the day and to do business.

The Canal allowed coffee to be exported for the first time from the country's previously unreachable Pacific coast. He points out that before there were ready supplies of drinking water, boiled beverages, such as coffee or tea, “were the safest thing a person could drink, and that the most commonly available alternative was alcohol. During the Enlightenment, Voltaire, Rousseau and Isaac Newton could be found talking about philosophy while drinking coffee. Finally, on the Dutch-controlled Indonesian island of Java, Javanese farmers were extorted with coffee as a cash tax (i).

Finally, the authorities and the public discovered how to preserve coffee as a drink and coffee shops as a meeting place, imposing a tax on both. The Sultan was so dedicated to catching coffee drinkers in the act that, apparently, he disguised himself as a commoner and prowled around Istanbul, beheading criminals with his hundred-pound sword. To combat this “evil”, Secretary of State Sir Joseph Williamson created a network of spies in coffee shops in London and, in December 1675, Charles II even ordered the closure of all coffee shops in London. And just as the quality of the wine depends on the terroir of the grape, the flavor of each coffee blend will depend on the conditions under which the beans are grown.

Coffee almost literally fueled the human side of industrialization in Europe, helping to break the ties of sleep and wakefulness with natural cycles and replacing clock time, working hours and caffeine. According to some estimates, Pollan said, due to climate change, by mid-century, 50 percent of the land currently growing coffee plants “will no longer be suitable for coffee production.” Meanwhile, poets John Dryden, Alexander Pope and writer Jonathan Swift went to court at Will's Coffee House. The sale of coffee was closely related to the slave trade, which was not abolished until the 1850s in Colombia and the 1880s in Brazil. He concludes that the price has been undeniably high, possibly too high, with its historical connections to a brutal production system and the exhausting work involved in growing and harvesting coffee that continues today.

Coffee seems to have spread rapidly in the Near East; it was established in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in 1511.In addition to providing this supposedly life-improving beverage, the first European coffee shops also became popular meeting places for businessmen, and some even gave rise to the financial institutions that we still have to rely on today.

Benjamín Arrand
Benjamín Arrand

Avid beer maven. Passionate pop culture enthusiast. Passionate tv practitioner. Total zombie practitioner. Total tv evangelist. Hardcore bacon scholar.