Food - Drink
In 17th-Century Turkey, Drinking Coffee Could Get You Killed
By LAUREN ROTHMAN
Native to Ethiopia, coffee began its global conquest around the 15th century and later spread to Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey a century later. The dark brew remains integral to many Middle Eastern traditions, but coffee was once a dangerous drink in Turkey in the 17th century.
Starting in the Middle Ages, coffeehouses became important social gathering places for all Arabs, but the tendency of the common folk to gather and plot revolution motivated the Ottoman sultan Murad IV to ban the consumption of coffee across his empire in 1633. Yet despite the ban and its threats of execution, coffee drinking continued to surge.
"Coffee has a tendency to loosen people's imaginations ... and mouths," says Mark Pendergrast, author of "Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World." While today’s coffeehouses are more inclined to social gatherings, history has shown that both the French and American Revolutions were planned, in part, in coffeehouses.