Provide a Theoretical Analysis on Coffee Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Coffee and Life

As the story goes Kaldi, a goat herder in Ethiopia in the year 850, noticed that his goats were acting a little strange. They were dashing around the fields and for some reason seemed to have a lot more energy than they normally did. This behavior continued for some time and the goat herder began to think that they had eaten something to make them act this way so he decided to keep an eye on them. After a while he noticed that the goats ate some red berries from a small shrub and acted energized, so he ate them himself. He soon found himself dancing around the bushes with the goats. He shared his findings with the local monk and coffee was discovered (Weinberg & Bealer, 2002). In truth, coffee probably does come from Ethiopia, but that the real history of coffee most likely begins at around c1400 when coffee found its way to the Arabian Peninsula.

The Arabs were the first people to cultivate coffee. Perhaps the earliest reference to coffee appears around the middle of the 15th century in the Sufi monasteries in the south part of Arabia (Weinberg & Bealer, 2002). Writings from Abd al-Qadir al-Jaziri, who had written a treatise regarding the history of coffee in 1587, reported that a person by the name of Sheikh, Jamal-al-Din al-Dhabhani was the first person to use coffee (Ukers, 1935). It is believed coffee became popular in Arabia because alcohol was forbidden to the Muslims there and the Arabic people enjoyed the effects that drinking coffee gave them (Weinberg & Bealer, 2002). Coffee was reputed to drive away fatigue and spiritualize the body. As it turns out, the effects of the caffeine in coffee is suited well to Muslim daily life. Strict Muslims pray five times a day, and drinking coffee helps keep one awake.

Arabia also had the very first coffeehouses as the demand for coffee grew very quickly in the Muslim world in Arabia. From Arabia the use of coffee spread to Egypt and to North Africa reaching the rest of the Middle East, Persia, and Turkey by the 16th century (Ukers, 1935). The Sufis' and Muslims' use of coffee spread northward toward Cairo and Baghdad. The first known exportation of coffee was from Ethiopia to Yemen. Yemeni traders begin to cultivate coffee and the first known coffeehouse appears to have been in Constantinople in 1554; however, due to its stimulating affect some Muslims tried to ban it in Egypt and Turkey (Ukers, 1935). It also appears that coffee was banned in Ethiopia by the Ethiopian Orthodox church, but in the 1800s these attitudes were relaxed and coffee drinking was allowed.

The first European to mention coffee is the German physician botanist Leonhard Rauwolf in his botanical description of the plant and its use by people in the Middle East (Ukers, 1935). Coffee was introduced to Europeans via trade with the Middle East as there was a strong trade relationship between Venice, Italy and the Muslims in the East so coffee made its way into Venice and it became popular there. After some controversy as to whether Catholics could consume coffee without being in violation of the Church, Pope Clement VIII ruled that coffee was acceptable in 1600. It appears the first European coffeehouse opened around 1645 (Weinberg & Bealer, 2002). Coffee also made its way to Britain by way of the British East India Company in the 16th century (Weinberg & Bealer, 2002). Of course by means of their extensive explorations, the British were able to establish coffee as a drink in the new world. Other Europeans such as the Dutch, Spanish, and the Italians spread the use of coffee in their explorations as well.

However, the American colonists' drink of choice was tea until after the Boston tea party when coffee became the most popular drink in the new world (Weinberg & Bealer, 2002). Today is estimated that over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed on a daily basis worldwide and coffee is second only to oil as the most traded commodity worldwide (Weinberg & Bealer, 2002).

Many people compare coffee to tea and perhaps tea is the closest relative to coffee. Both coffee and tea are aromatic beverages commonly prepared by pouring boiling hot water over parts of the plant, in the case of tea the water is poured over the crushed leaves or roots of the plant and in the case of coffee over the ground fruit or beans of the plant. Tea has an even older history than coffee originating in 10th BC China (Rose, 2010). Tea also became very popular in Europe and Britain and found its way to the New World via the British explorers. Both of these beverages have been associated with healthful effects and increases in vitality (Shen, 2012). There are a number of different types of coffee beans just like there are a number of different types of teas. There are six major types of tea, but many more types of coffee. Both the use of coffee in the survey major social functions; however, coffee usage related to social functions is more extensive worldwide. Caffeine appears to be an active main active ingredient in both coffee and tea, although there are a number of herbal teas and other keys that do not naturally contain caffeine. Other caffeinated drinks include soda; however, the target markets generally differ for coffee and soda products. Coffee is typically targeted on a more sophisticated, mature level than soda drinks are. Coffee also appears to be tied to more social activities than tea or soda.

Coffee has a number of important semiotic elements. Coffee mediates social life. For many a cup of coffee is associated with rising in the morning and a ritual preparation for the affairs of the day they are occupational, social, or other (Manning 2012). For many people coffee provides a "pick me up" to get them going. In this sense caffeine has become the "mature" substitute for soda or even tea and a legal substitute for other forms of "pick me ups." In some countries such as Great Britain tea is still the preferred pick me up drink; however, coffee has assumed this role over most of the globe. In this respect, coffee provides a solid promise to its consumers to the supply them with energy, vitality, and the "extra push" to make it past the lethargy associated with rising early in the morning. Of course caffeine is my only physically addicting as well and often is this mild addiction that is acting on the consumer as opposed to a real physical boost. The research has indicated that there is a mild form of caffeine withdrawal that occurs in chronic users, and of course the longest period of abstinence that many people experience occurs during the sleeping hours. When one awakens in the morning after years and years of an early morning cup of coffee one may be experiencing the effects of caffeine withdrawal (mild for most people) and satisfying their caffeine "fix" may really be what is going on (Weinberg & Bealer, 2002).

Manning (2012) reports that the coffeehouses scattered throughout England, Europe, the United States, and countries like Australia have become socially intertwined with the materialized form of social interaction; a form of egalitarian social interaction. In this sense coffee becomes the innocuous alternative to alcoholic beverages as one is less apt to lose control when drinking coffee. Manning (2012) also makes an interesting comparison between the now modern alternatives that companies like Starbucks offer and coffee drinks and the reshaping of sociability in cosmopolitan terms. Coffee has provided a cultural sense of prestige along with this air of sociability. People can talk about different coffees in the same way they can…

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