State of The CaffeiNation (See what I did there?)

Posted by Christopher McClure on

So, if you read my last post you know that coffee is a plant from Africa, that it developed into the drink we know in the middle east some time before the 15th century, and that it quickly spread across Europe, spreading daisies and sunshine with it.

Okay, so I may have made up that last part...
Photo by Böhringer is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5

But did you know that coffee is also patriotic, a beverage deemed by all of the founding fathers as necessary for every true American to drink, even if those founding fathers themselves did not quite appreciate the flavor?

First we have to turn our eyes a little more south: Coffee came to the Caribbean in 1720, first planted on the island of Martinique. Within fifty years, coffee farms on Martinique had grown immensely and coffee spread around the Caribbean and elsewhere, including South America. Coffee produced in the Caribbean and the Americas was much cheaper for those in the Colonies to buy, but for the most part, Colonists stuck to tea, and (probably a little more than they should have) beer.

Okay, so maybe I can't blame them...
Photo by Thomas Cizauskas is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0  
That changed with the Revolutionary War. First, the tax on tea was raised. This alone made the already cheaper coffee more desirable, but as soon as a few folk decided it was a smart thing to dress likes Mohawk warriors and toss tea into the ocean, drinking tea became a little taboo. Whether all of the colonists instantly switched over to coffee is up for debate, but things certainly changed. One source sites a letter from John Adams to his wife, saying that he preferred tea, but would learn to love coffee because drinking tea had become unpatriotic. Long story short, much of the revolution went on to be planned in coffee houses, and the USA became the country that runs on Dunkin' and brought Starbucks to the world.

And then we decided to watch them fight... because what else are we going to do?
This map was created by FlowingData

That is how coffee became America's drink, but there's more spreading of coffee that we didn't cover, mainly on the growing side. I won't get into the details, but we can mostly thank the Dutch (who took it to Indonesia) and the French (who brought it to the Americas) for the spread of coffee plants. Although rest assured, there was no lack of attempts at a monopoly, secret stolen seedlings, or unfortunate pirate attacks involved with coffee's dissemination.

So yeah... I don't know about you, but I'm going to be extra grateful next time I have a cup of coffee. You know, assuming I'm not a un-caffeinated zombie.

This is what opening a coffee shop is like. Every morning.

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