Coffee is evil? Am I being blasphemous now?
Coffee has been around for over 1000 years and has an interesting origin story. But believe it or not, it was almost suppressed numerous times.
Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia and brought to a Muslim cleric. Once the people in that region figured out how to cultivate the coffee bean and make a tasty drink out of it, it began to spread across the Muslim world.
It was not very widespread in the Christian world until the 1600s, however. With the Crusades and everything else going on, it should not be surprising that the Christian world was hesitant to try coffee.
According to uCatholic, Pope Clement VIII had a big role in opening the doors to coffee for his people.
His advisors’ original recommendations were to ban coffee, and to say it was Satan’s drink, simply because it had a Muslim connection.
Pope Clement VIII asked to try the drink himself, and ended up declaring:
“This Satan’s drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall cheat Satan by baptizing it!”
Which does not seem like the kind of response you would want to hear from a Pope who was saying “coffee is evil” earlier. Effectively sounding like, “yeah, this is Satan’s drink, but why shouldn’t we also have access to it?”
Oh well. Popes will be popes, I guess.
But, this does not mean that it was easy for coffee to spread throughout the Muslim world either.
In fact, for all the proof you need that coffee is evil, you need not look further than the 1600s. It was a capital offense to drink coffee in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire was essentially the closest thing to a world power at the time, which is saying a lot about how big of a backlash there was against coffee and its many evils.
Sultan Murad IV gave the death penalty for anyone caught drinking coffee in his empire.
But, he did so much more than just make this rule and have his people enforce it.
According to NPR, this Sultan would literally disguise himself as a commoner, carry around a huge sword, and cut off people heads himself if he caught them drinking coffee. Judge, jury, and executioner all in one. He often decapitated them as they were drinking the coffee, as their fate was sealed.
Talk about paranoid.
Thankfully, his predecessors backed off of the substantial lengths that Murad went to to eradicate coffee. Coffee is evil sure, but an evil that didn’t deserve a death sentence. Those after Murad gave a little bit more leeway.
His next predecessor, for instance, only cudgeled his people for a first offense. A pretty severe beating for drinking coffee? I might consider it.
The second offense, however was even worse than a beheading. The punishment for second offenders? The offender was trapped inside a leather bag that was sewn closed… And tossed into a river… And ever so slowly drowned…
Despite all of these shaky beginnings, people still drink coffee. And not just during these times, but they still drank coffee while knowing exactly what the results would be if they were caught.
Makes you kind of thankful, eh?
I suppose we at Match Made Coffee can now officially say that our subscription boxes are killer deals.