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Farideh Ari
UWRT 1102
Instructor: Fran Voltz
9 December 2015
Coffees Influence on Different Cultures
So many of us associate coffee with waking up in the morning. Its as if our day would
not be able to begin without it. We go to our nearest coffee shop like Starbucks or Dunkin
Donuts, or we even make our own coffee at home and have a particular preference for the way
we prefer to drink our morning coffee. But not everyone around the world has the means or
believes coffee should be consumed the way Americans consume it. Have you ever wondered
how people from different parts of the world drink their coffee? In order to appreciate coffee for
its impact on todays different cultures around the world, a brief historical background on coffee
must be provided.

According to the legend, coffee beans were found by a goatherd, named Kaldi in Ethiopia
who lived around 850 AD (Nzegwu). Supposedly he discovered his goats eating these red berries
and soon after the goats ate them, they seemed to have more energy in them (Nzegwu). Then he
tried these red berries (Nzegwu). He then felt livelier after eating some of berries (Nzegwu).

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Kaldi thought these berries were a gift from God (Nzegwu). Soon after he invited the local
monks to listen to his story and see the goats for themselves. The monks were astonished and
decided to try and experiment with these berries. Some of the monks decided to boil the branches
of the red berry plant. When they tried the hot beverage, they thought it was very disgusting.
Then the monks thought that the red berries were works of the devil (Nzegwu). The monks then
burned the branches (Nzegwu). It didnt end there, a pleasant aroma spread from the fire. This
lead to monks having a new idea. Because the burned red berries smelled so pleasant, they
decided to place it in a container with water (Nzegwu). That evening a monk decided to drink
the water with burned red berried (Nzegwu). And after trying the drink he was pleasantly
surprised. He felt alert and full of energy. Then all the monks used this beverages to stay more
alert for prayer so they can pray longer (Nzegwu). The brewed coffee was then spread to
monasteries all over the world (Nzegwu).
As coffee spread all over the world, it was consumed differently and played a big role in
different cultures. One culture that was affected was Ethiopian culture. As stated before, legend
has it, consuming coffee began in Ethiopia. However researchers believe that many other
countries such as Sudan began chewing coffee berries as a stimulant centuries before the legend
came about (Nzegwu). When coffee was grounded, they would mix it with butter to eat as
nourishment (Nzegwu). This tradition is still present in some parts of Ethiopia, like Sidamo and
Kaffa (Nzegwu). In addition, coffee played a role in Ethiopian religion. A majority of Ethiopians
are Muslim.
The Arabic word for coffee, kahwah, is also one of several words for wine. In the process of

stripping the cherry husk, the pulp of the bean was fermented to make a potent liquor. The Quran

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forbade the use of wine or intoxicating beverages, but those Muslims in favour of coffee argued
that it was not an intoxicant but a stimulant. (Nzegwu)
According to the Muslim religion, alcohol is forbidden therefore coffee or kahwah created a big
riot (Nzegwu). Some Muslims sought to put an end to drinking coffee but the Sultan of Cairo
intervened and punished people who tried to ban coffee (Nzegwu). Coffee was then used in
replace of alcohol (Nzegwu). Coffee instead of alcohol was and is still used in social and
religious events. Kaveh Kanes were once religious places and coffee was used during the
religious ceremonies (Nzegwu). Today, Kaveh Kanes are social coffee houses (Nzegwu). This is
where the concept of coffee houses came about. During social events coffee ceremonies are
prominent. These coffee ceremonies are a symbol of hospitality. When guest visited an
Ethiopians family home, coffee ceremonies are performed (Nzegwu). A women of the household
will roast the green coffee beans in front of her guest to create a wonderful aroma (Nzegwu). She
then will proceed with grinding the coffee beans and boiled in water (Nzegwu). The coffee is
strained many times and severed to the guests (Nzegwu). The guests would many times be
served with a lot sugar in their coffee and light snack food near the coffee (Nzegwu). However
not every household served the same kind of coffee during the coffee ceremony. Ethiopian coffee
beans has different flavors depending on which part of Ethiopia the coffee berry was planted and
harvested (Nzegwu). But the major coffee beans served today is Coffea Arabica and Robusta
(Nzegwu). These coffee beans have a big influence on Ethiopian social and religious culture.

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Like Ethiopia, coffee heavily influences social and
religious culture in Turkey. Also Turkey is a mostly a Muslim
populated country. Therefore in the religious accept with coffee

and Ethiopia are similar. However, coffee plays some different social
accepts in Turkey.
First brought to Istanbul in 1555 by two Syrian
traders, coffee became known as the "milk of chess
players and thinkers." By the mid-17th century,
Turkish coffee became part of elaborate ceremonies
involving the Ottoman court. Coffee makers with the
help of over forty assistants, ceremoniously prepared

and served coffee for the sultan. Marriage customs and gender roles also became defined through
coffee rituals (Ayasli).
Women receive training on proper ways to make Turkish coffee. Then the future husband would
judge a woman based on the taste of the coffee (Ayasli). Other than marriage, coffee played a
role in men and men interactions and women and women interactions (Ayasli). As women visit
another womens home even though if it is a short period of time, Turkish coffee would be
served with sweets (Ayasli). But for men, coffee houses is where they interacted. At these coffee
houses men play backgammon and have conversation about politics (Ayasli). Turkish coffee is
the prominent coffee served both at coffee houses and in homes. Sometimes cardamom spice is
added to the grounded Arabica bean (Ayasli). Depending on the hostess and visitors preference
coffee may be served very sweet to bitter. Many Turkish residents believe that good Turkish
coffee forms foam on surface and if foam is not formed the hostess loses respect (Ayasli). Also

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tradition has it, when the guests finish drinking their coffee, a fortune reading is performed by
the host from the residue of coffee left in the bottom of the cup (Ayasli). The cup is flipped
upside down and the coffee grounds slowly drip on the saucer and some sticks on the cup itself
(Ayasli). The coffee grounds adhered to the cup is what is used in fortune readings (Ayasli). This
tradition is still occurring today and is what brings many visitors around the world to turkey
In addition, many coffee lovers travel to Vietnam for experience their coffee culture. As
the second largest coffee producer of coffee, Vietnam has coffee as a big part of the daily routine
(Spiegel). Coffee is served all day. Whether it is morning, noon, or night, you can go to a cafs or

stools on the streets and coffee would be served. However what Vietnamese coffee is most
famous for is the way they serve their coffee. A phin is used to individually brew the coffee while
it is being served (Spiegel). The phin has a small cup and lid that works like a filter (Spiegel).
If the coffee is served this way, it forces you to slow down and savor the experience. You
literally watch the coffee being made drip by drip, which not only stokes your desire, but it also
forces you to sit for a few minutes while the coffee gets made. Of course not all coffee is served
this way and you can also find fast cafes where the coffee has already been brewed and is ready
for you to drink right away or take on-the-go (Spiegel).
Most Vietnamese cities are very busy so this method makes life seem a little be slower. The
coffee that is served in these phins come mainly from the robusta bean and is very strong
(Spiegel). However what is super unique is what Vietnamese put in their coffee. Most people
associate Vietnamese coffee with the addition of sweetened condenses milk. However, they also
add things like butter, eggs, and cheese (Spiegel). This is what drew people all over the world to
go to Vietnam and try their unique coffee experience.

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Tourists did not only visit Vietnam and fall in love with their coffee but Italy is another
country with lots of coffee history and culture. However like many parts of the world, coffee
experienced a little bit of a struggle before it was allowed to be part of society. Before coffee
made its way to Italy, it was a major social experience in many countries in Africa (Mereu). But
in the late 1500s and early 1600s many Venetian ambassadors and traders would travel over to
Africa and Turkey and bring back coffee beans (Mereu). A Dutch merchant, however was
successfully able to bring back a branch of the coffee bush in Yemen to Europe (Mereu).
In 1616, Pieter van der Broecke, a Dutch Merchant succeeded in taking some of the guarded
bushes from Mocha, in Yemen, and he brought them to Amsterdam where they cultivated in
greenhouses (Mereu).
Soon after coffee hit a little bump in the road. Italy was a heavily Christian populated country
and because at that time, coffee was only prominent in Muslim African countries (Mereu).
Therefore many Christians in Italy asked to pope to forbid coffee (Mereu). The pope then
decided it is only fair if he also tries the beverage before he decides whether or not to ban it

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(Mereu). He ended up loving it so much that he decided to declare it as a Christian drink
(Mereu). Venice was one of the first city in Italy to accept coffee which is why Venice has some
of the oldest coffee shops (Mereu). In Italy coffee cafes are considered like coffee bars (Mereu).
These coffee bars play an important Italys social society. At these coffee shops mainly espresso
is sereved and at home, moka is served (Mereu). The difference between the two is that espresso
is coffee under high pressure whereas moka coffee has lighter pressure used to make it (Mereu).
People usually only drink moka in the morning but espresso is served all day long (Mereu). In
addition, a common phrase is heard in coffee bars, caffe sospeso (Mereu). This is used to
express that a person pays for two cups of coffee but only drinks one (Mereu). The second cup is
offered to a friend or sometimes even a stranger (Mereu). This is a unique way in Italy to meet
new people.
Though America doesnt seem to have a
great way

to meet new people with coffee,

coffee still plays an important role in
American culture. As we all know,
coffee is offered everywhere in American
restaurants, coffee shops like
Starbucks and Dunkin donuts, and in
people home. Coffee is served all
day long. There are reasons why
coffee is important in Americas

society. One reason is because cost. Coffee is very affordable and leads to more people buying
and therefore increase Americas economy (Contois). Also new inventions like coffee machines

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came about which also helps the economy (Contois). However the most important reason is that
coffee is an acceptable drug, in a way (Contois). Coffee is a known stimulate (Contois).
Look at the recipient, who with blanched face, dull eyes, and depressed mien, reaches
out his hand and seizes upon the nectar. The moment the fragrance reaches his nostrils a
transformation for the better commences, the eyes grow bright, a healthful color and natural
fullness returns to the cheeks, smiles wreath the mouth, the mind becomes active, the fogs, the
dark air, effluvia of all sorts are exorcised like ghosts fleeing before the penetrating rays of the
unobstructed sun (Contois).
This describes coffee as being the drink that wakes up our soul. Coffee is an acceptable drug
because coffee makes you alert without the terrible consequences like alcohol has. Coffee is
more than just a beverage, it is the reason most of us think keeps us awake, especially here in
Many of us, especially all those coffee lover, use coffee in every aspect of our lives.
Whether it is studying, a morning wake me up, or even for a causal meeting with a friend,
coffee is very important to us. Today coffee lovers are all over the world due do the great history
behind it. Though it hasnt always been accept in history, it is evident today that coffee plays a
major role in different social cultures.

Work Sited
Foundation., 2015.
Web. 20 Oct. 2015. <>.

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Ayegl. "How to Make Turkish Coffee." Foolproof Living., 17 Mar. 2014. Web. 7 Dec.

"Coffee and Legends - Stories and Myths about Coffee." Wecoffee Italian Micro
Roastery., Oct. 2014.
Web. 07 Dec. 2015. <>.

Contois, Emily. "American Coffee Culture in 1872: So Different from Today?" Word
Pres., 24 July 2012.
Web. 20 Oct. 2015. <>.

Mereu, Carmine. "The Italian Coffee." International Coffee Organization, 1 Feb. 2015.
Web. 18 Oct.
2015. <>.

Nzegwu, Nkira. "Africa House." The History of Coffee., 20 Jan. 2010. Web. 20 Oct.

Spiegel, Alison. "What Vietnamese Coffee Culture Gets Right, Beyond Sweetened
Condensed Milk." The
Huffington Post., 8 Dec. 2014 Web. 17 Oct. 2015