Sunday 28 January 2018

Five things I learned from ‘The Philosophy of Coffee’

Like many coffee lovers, I follow Brian's Coffee Spot, staying up to date with the bloggings, travels and photos of Brian Williams.

I was happy to see that Brian had published an actual real book - both because I’ve been reading paper books out of preference lately - and because I feel like I’ve gotten to know Brian through his blogging, and wanted to see what he had to say about coffee, that was book-worthy rather than blog-worthy.

I whipped through Brian’s book in a few hours and thoroughly enjoyed his light-hearted and informative tale - one of the history, economics, politics and social change.

Here are five things (and there were many more) about The Philosophy of Coffee that I was struck by or had never paused to think about until Brian pointed them out:
  • The expansion of coffee from Ethiopia to around the world is linked to Islam
  • As water wasn’t safe to drink in London in 17th & 18th centuries, most people were slightly tipsy from substituting watered down beer. So moving to coffee instead had a doubling up effect - not only was there no sedating effect from the beer, the caffeine stimulated discussion and exchange of ideas which fuelled innovation
  • Brazil has only been growing coffee for a couple of hundred years, but for the last hundred or so has been the world’s leading producer
  • The British love of tea and American love of coffee are related
  • The TV show Friends - and Central Perk coffee shop - contributed to coffee shop growth in the UK
There are plenty of other gems in Brian’s book which I highly recommend. You can buy it from Brian's publisher the British Library - as well as bookstores.

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