Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Coffee fuelled the Age of Enlightenment

Who knew that when the Turks fled Vienna in the sixteenth century, the bags of strange dark beans they left behind would take over western Europe, and eventually fuel the Age of Enlightenment!

Steve Johnson, the author of The Invention of Air spells out in the video excerpt below what Stephen Hicks and I have known for some time:

When the sweet poison of the Treacherous Grape[2]
Had acted on the world a general rape; …
Coffee arrives, that grave and wholesome Liquor
That heals the stomach and makes the genius quicker.

Coffee was the Great Redeemer!

The massive, heavy body types of seventeenth-century paintings had their physiological explanation in high beer and beer-soup consumption… The insertion of coffee achieved chemically what the Protestants sought to fulfil spiritually [by] ‘drying’ up the beer-soaked bums and replacing them with ‘rationalistic, forward-looking bodies’ typical of the lean cynics of the nineteenth-century.[4]

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