Carolyn's Daily Posts: 2011

August 5, 2011

Coffee Through the Centuries



Coffee. Through the centuries, muse to poets and composers, artists and scholars, bankers and businessmenCoffee houses, long a part of European life, are proliferating in the United States,…*

     As I researched background for my novel I became familiar with the longstanding Le Procope Cafe in Paris, the longest continually operating café in the city. It was founded in 1683.

     I also learned about the Bunch of Grapes Tavern in Boston, and the XX   in Philadelphia. These are places where my characters met to socialize and conduct business.


…and the specialty brews they sell are humbling the regular cup of joe…Not even the soaring price of coffee over the past few months has deterred the search for the perfect cup…People who used to ask for a cup of black coffee are now asking for caffe lattes, espressos and cappuccinos.

     In the 1780s-1790s, chocolate coffee was the rage in Paris.

     Historically, java’s origins can be traced to Ethiopia, where beans grow wild. About a thousand years ago, traders apparently took the berries across the Red Sea into what is now Yemen, where Muslim monks began cultivating the shrubs. The first coffee house in Italy and England opened around 1650. In the 1700s, coffee plants were taken to Paris, where Louis XIV apparently developed a fondness for the bitter drink. Some of the plants were stolen and made their way to the New World.*


     Now that we’ve entered the twenty-first century the muse to members of the Beanery Writers Group appears at the Coffee Bean Café on Route 30 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. As members sip coffee and dine on sandwiches, soups and lasagna during the hour before the meeting and during the meeting they critique each other’s writings, create pieces from prompts, and, most of all, they encourage each other.


     The article I quoted from was in a pile of newspaper clippings I’m trying to clear out. It appeared in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on September 18, 1994. A sidebar includes a coffee glossary:

  • The people: Barista—the person serving at an expresso bar
  • The drinks: including espresso (a shot of hot, strong black coffee), caffe mocha (mostly steamed milk with a shot of expresso and mocha syrup topped by whipped cream and cocoa powder), and macchiato (an espresso shot topped with a touch of foamed milk)
  • The lingo: including cup sizes (short, tall, and grande); Coffee is no longer caffeinated or decaffeinated. In java jive that’s leaded or unleaded. A half leaded, half unleaded drink is known as a schizo; and thunder thigh (one name for a quadruple grande whole-milk latte with chocolate syrup and extra whipped cream) and if the drink is to go, that’s usually on wheels or with wings.

     The sidebar also includes caffeine ranges of five ounces of different coffees, from decaffeinated coffee, brewed, (2-5) to instant coffee (30-120) to brewed coffee (60-180).

     Research on coffees benefits or harmfulness are controversial. I recall reading that even heart disease patients can drink up to three cups of coffee daily without damaging their health.

     It’s time now for me to pour my second cup of morning joe. Would you join me?


Pittsburgh Post Gazette on September 18, 1994, pp. K4



PROCOPE CAFÉ, PARIS: Part 1—Finding photographs: An International Adventure


 Compagnie du Scioto Meeting at Café le Procope: Novel #3A

From the Bastille to Cinderella



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