Mythology abounds about its origin, but the first recorded use of coffee was in Sufi monasteries of the Yemen in southern Arabia in the 15 century.
By 1511, coffee consumption was banned by conservative imams at theological court in Mecca who feared its dangerous stimulating qualities. In 1524, the ban is overturned by decree of Ottoman Turkish Sultan Selim I, and a holy fatwah issued by Grand Mufti Mehmet Ebussuud el-İmadi…obviously, these guys liked their caffeine.
The first recorded coffee house opened in Constantinople in 1554.
Coffee flowed into Europe through Venice where the rich were charged dearly for it.
Religion, once again spoils the fun and Catholics are forbidden from consuming it. In1600 Pope Clement VIII decides he likes the brew, overturns the ban — despite the controversy — paving they way for the first Venetian coffeehouse, which opens in 1645.
The first English coffeehouse was opened in St Michael’s Alley in Cornhill. Queen’s Lane Coffeehouse opened in Oxford, and has been in continuous operation since opening in 1654. By 1675 there were over 3000 coffeehouses in England. Repeated efforts were made to discredit these drinking establishments for it is where the public gathered to express deep thoughts.
One ‘MP’, wrote in his 1661 pamphlet “A character of coffee and coffee-houses”, “’Tis extolled for drying up the Crudities of the Stomack, and for expelling Fumes out of the Head. Excellent Berry! which can cleanse the English-man’s Stomak of Flegm, and expel Giddinesse out of his Head.’
Women were banned from coffeehouses, by selfish men, no doubt. The anonymous 1674 “Women’s Petition Against Coffee” declared: “the Excessive Use of that Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor called COFFEE …has…Eunucht our Husbands, and Crippled our more kind Gallants, that they are become as Impotent, as Age.”
Brittania ruled the waves, apparently in spite of this lack of reproductive powers.
This sidebar goes along with our article about Dynamite Coffee Roasting Co., which can be found here.