The history of coffee

        Coffee is quite a powerful beverage (and I’m not talking about the strongest coffee known to mankind, in the present day ). If you look at it from a personal perspective, it keeps us awake and it helps us with our digestive system. On a bigger scale, it shaped our history and it continues to shape our culture.
        Many theories agree that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia, by a sheep herder. He seemed to notice that some of his sheep tended to get agitated when eating the red berries from the plant we currently know as coffee.
        Now, we all know that it is the human nature to be curious and to want to know more and more about the things surrounding us, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to know that our sheep herder tried eating the red berries himself, in order to find an explanation for the sheep’s behavior.
        It is common knowledge today that if you drink too much coffee, you will become hyperactive, your blood pressure will rise and you will enter a caffeine frenzy. However, the sheep herder did not know that so, after eating a generous amount of red berries, he went to the local monks to present them with his symptoms. They scolded him for consuming something similar to a drug but, as it is human nature, they also tried it, out of curiosity. By doing this, they noticed that they were having more energy and could stay up longer at night, praying, so they changed their views regarding the newly discovered plant.
        Over time, the plant was taken by the Arabians and farmed it, in order to gain coffee monopoly. However, in 1453, the Turks were the first who tried making a liquid drink out of it, by brewing it. 22 years later, the Turkish law was modified, so much so that it was possible to divorce a man if he failed to provide his wife with a sufficient amount of coffee for the day. Following the Arabian example, other people started smuggling the coffee plants back to their countries, including the Dutch, the French and the Brazilians.
        Coffee was introduced to the majority of Europe around the 16th century, and it was first considered to be “the Devil’s drink”, until Pope Vincent III decided to give it a shot (pun intended). Apparently, the taste was so good, that he started drinking it regularly, after “baptizing” it and deciding that it was ok for the Christian flock to drink it.
        In 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place, where the Americans threw tea and coffee overboard, as a sign of protest for the English taxes. Moving forward to 1920, the coffee sales skyrocketed, when the American government banned alcohol, thus making coffee one of the most sought after beverages.
        Overall, the coffee plant, and especially the beverage made out of it, has had an undeniable ascension through the years, becoming more and more accessible to the common folk. So much so, that in 1971 the first Starbucks was opening its first store. Truth be told, it was a few years until their business became a trend and, inevitably, a staple (precisely, 24 years later, in 1995, which also happens to be my year of birth – it must be a sign).
        Even if you are not a coffee addict like I am (duh…), the name “Starbucks” immediately brings to mind their famous logo and tall white cups, and you cannot deny that they are truly a force in their field. And speaking of Starbucks, one of their stores celebrated their first year in one of Bucharest’s malls (ParkLake Shopping Center), so they organized a little event, which I managed to attend to.
        The atmosphere was warm, cozy and comfortable, which made me feel less like I was in a crowded mall and more like I was chilling in my kitchen with close friends. Sitting there, I realized that the brand attracts the people inside, but the staff and the atmosphere are the ones who make you want to return as a faithful customer.


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