[Sca-cooks] Questions on coffee
t.d.decker at att.net
Tue Jan 26 21:11:42 PST 2010
Okay, Stefan. Here are my thoughts on these statements.
First, you must differentiate between the coffee plant and the coffee
beverage. Second, there is a lot of misinformation on coffee out there,
with the best stories being the most misleading.
>I made a comment on the Lochac list recently about coffee (and tea) not
>being period for Europe and this is one of the responses which came back.
> I've asked for the references for the first three statements since they
> don't seem to match what Bear and others have said on this list. None of
> them apply to my statement on Europe, but in addition they don't seem to
> match with the comments about coffee originating in Ethiopia in the
> latter Middle Ages, either. Are these statements items which were later
> disproved? Am I mis-remembering what was said about coffee here?
> Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2010 14:42:17 +1100
> From: "C Lenehan" <lenehan at our.net.au>
> Subject: [Lochac] coffee
> To: "The Shambles: the SCA Lochac mailing list"
> <lochac at lochac.sca.org>
> For information on the vital subject of coffee
> * Coffee seems to have been drunk in Persia since the ninth century
Questionable without sourcing. Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Zakariya Al-Razi
(Rhazes) describes the medicinal properties of "buncha" or "bunchum" but
does not adquately describe the plant or the method of preparation at the
beginning of the 10th Century. This is generally accepted as the first
reference to coffee. BTW, it is difficult to make a case for coffee as a
beverage before 1245 and proof of the beverage occurs only after 1450.
> * It was first cultivated around 675 in Arabia.
Source? There is some archeological evidence for coffee cultivation at Axum
in Abyssinia and for the introduction of coffee cultivation following the
invasion of Yemen in 525. If so, the practice did not survive, as coffee
drinking and coffee cultivation appear to have been introduced by Shaykh
Jamal al-Din Abu Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Sa'is al-Dhabbani around 1454.
> * Abu ibn Sina, known in the West as Avicenna, was acquainted with coffee
> around the year 1000.
To quote Avicenna, "As to the choice thereof, that of a lemon color, light
and of good smell is the best; that of the white and heavy is naught. It is
hot and dry in the first degree, and, according to others, cold in the first
degree. It fortifies the members, it cleans the skin, and dries up the
humidities that are under it, and gives an excellent smell to all the body."
Avicenna uses the term "bunchum" or "bunn." In Arabic, "bunn" means the
entire kernal or the coffee berry depending on usage. The husk of the berry
is called "qishr." The drink is "qahwa." Obviously both Rhazes and
Avicenna were referring to the coffee berry, not the beverage.
> * 1475 The first coffee shop opens in Istanbul (Kiva Han). It is
To my knowledge, this is an unproven based on an unsupported statement by
James Trager. The first certain appearance of coffee the beverage in
Constantiople is after Selim I conquered Egypt and brought the drink back to
his court. Coffeehouses appear in the Levant around 1530.
> * The first European to mention coffee is Prospero Alpino of Padua. In
> he went to Egypt, then under Ottoman rule.
The first European observation of coffee berries and drinking coffee is by
Leonhard Rauwolf in 1573, published in Rauwolf's Travels in 1583. Alpini
observed the plant and the berries in 1580 and provided the first European
botanical description in his Plants of Egypt, 1592.
The first person to import coffee into Europe may have been Gianfrancesco
Morosini, the Venetian city magistrate in Constantiople, in 1585.
The botanist Charles l'Ecluse recieved some coffee seeds in 1596, but
European coffee drinking only began in earnest in the 17th Century.
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