The history of Coffee.

Coffee as we all know, has become the regular stimulant for many people, certainly developers.  I see the adiction to coffee spreading through my office where I work every day and I used to work with a bunch of highly skilled coders prior to my current job.  The key there of course was that we all drank coffee.  Not the instant just add water sip and grimace kind of coffee mind you, no sir!  I mean the real coffee freshly ground and full of the finest caffeine money can buy.

You would be forgiven for thinking that coffee had been around for all time, but that just isn’t true, well at least there have never been any reports of an ice age coffee house ever being found, though without doubt it would have been the freshest coffee around had there been one. (freezing coffee keeps it fresher for longer… trust me it works).

I don’t remember there being mention of Noah taking a fine supply of coffee onto the Ark either, though I’m sure after a day or two of non stop rain he was wishing for something similar.  heck I bet given the chance Starbucks would have opened up a shop on the ark, just what every ocean going liner with no timetable or destination in mind should have.

Anyway I digress somewhat and have no doubt offended a few people.

My point and purpose for this post is to introduce you to some dainty little facts about the history of coffee.

Where did it all begin?  Aparently with a goatsherd who noticed that hit goats were very jumpy one night and just wouldn’t sleep, when he investigated he found that they had eaten from a strange bush with red berries on them, upon closer inspection he found that the berry had a bean inside it.  This my friends was the discovery of coffee.
Honestly it is!… well it’s common legend anyhow and you can read a more acurate acount of that over on the Roast and Post Coffee site

During the 17th and 18th Centuries there were more coffee shops in London than there are today aparently.  Which means that Starbucks missed a trick.  Either that or they have invented time travel.

It was the coffeehouses of England that started the custom of tipping waiters and waitresses. People who wanted good service and better seating would put some money in a tin labelled “To Insure Prompt Service” – hence “TIPS”.

Coffee shops were once called ‘penny universities’.  It was said that a man could learn more from the coffee house than he could from reading his books from a whole month.  I guess it’s true, if you ever sat in a Starbucks on your own (yeh I know…) well you can overhear loads of cool stuff. Oh and coffee used to cost a penny, hence ‘penny universities’ 🙂

Some of the coffee houses in London became very well known with different groups of workers and soon became the kingpins around which the capital’s social, political and commercial life revolved. Jonathan’s Coffee House in Change Alley was where stockbrokers usually met – it eventually became the London Stock Exchange. Likewise, ship owners and marine insurance brokers visited Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House in Lombard Street – it too moved on and up in the world and became the centre of world insurance and the headquarters of Lloyds of London.

And Finaly for this post:

Johann Sebastian Bach composed his “Kafee-Kantate” or Coffee Cantata in 1732. Partly an ode to coffee and partly a stab at the movement in Germany to prevent women from drinking coffee (it was thought to make them sterile), the cantata includes the aria “Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than muscatel wine! I must have coffee…”

Here! here!  Bravo Johan! Bravo!

I shamelessly took these facts from the awesome material available on the Roast and Post Coffee Company website Thanks to all the folks over there, great coffee, great service and education to boot.

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