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The Official Blessing of Coffee

coffeebeanottomancoffeehouse16thAccording to Arabic legend Sheikh Omar was the first to cultivate coffee in Mocha, Yemen. He used it to cure the King of Mocha’s daughter who was afflicted by an unknown malady, and coffee soon became renown for its medicinal properties.

However, it was not long before coffee started to arouse controversy. With the establishment of the first coffee houses in Mecca in the late 15th Century, religious zealots denounced these establishments as dens of iniquity.

In Muslim countries, the closing of coffeehouses was ordered by the Bey of Cairo in 1511, by the Sultan of Mecca in 1524, and by the Great Vizier Koprulu in 1656.

Matters came to a head in 1511 when the governor of Mecca, Kahir Beg, tried to have coffee banned. Unfortunately for Beg, the Sultan of Cairo was a firm supporter of the drink and he was overruled. A year later the Sultan ordered Beg’s execution on a charge of embezzlement. The moral of the story: don’t mess with a good thing!

At Café Jiran™ we are strong supporters of the incomparable brew and its ability to stimulate reflection, ideas, action and social interaction. We like the way it leads to fresh thinking and unconventional approaches. Maybe it’s those very qualities that historically have made coffee such a disturbing proposition to the powers-that-be? 

Pope-Clement-VIII-enjoys-coffeeSo it’s no wonder that when Venetian traders introduced the drink to Europe in 1615, coffee again came under fire.

In 1675, Charles II of England issued an edict abolishing cafes, “places of idleness where His Majesty is defamed”, because of scandalous rumors implicating the king and his ministers.

The Roman clerics, like the mullahs of Mecca earlier, suggested it was the Devil’s work. However, Pope Clement VIII enjoyed it so much that he declared:  “Coffee should be baptized to make it a true Christian drink.”

Thus blessed, coffee was well on its way to becoming one of the world’s most popular beverages. A position we do our little bit to reinforce daily here at Café Jiran™.

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