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Ever wanted to baptise your coffee? It’s been done already!

To some the act of drinking a perfect cup of coffee is almost a religious affair. The smooth richness of the drink turning a bad day into a wonderful one. But, perhaps that is a modern day viewpoint because in the suspicion laden world of the middle ages coffee was met with great suspicion and religious prejudice as it came from the Middle East where a different religion to Christianity prevailed Islam.

To the everyday man and woman on the street, word was that coffee was something special, fabulous tasting, exotic and new. However, the religious zealots of the era viewed it differently proclaiming the drink to be the ‘bitter invention of Satan’ and carrying with it the ‘unmistakable’ whiff of Islam. Utter hogwash to our modern sensibilities but back in Middle Aged England our religious leaders taught us all to be good believers of the faith and their readings of the text was the only one to believe. The Catholics soon banned coffee.

What happens when you have a disagreement at work? You go to the boss man, and he decides and that was exactly what happened. Those campaigning to be allowed to drink coffee went over the heads of their religious leaders and went right to the top, Pope Clement VIII and asked his opinion. He sampled coffee for himself and decreed that it was indeed a Christian as well as a Muslim drink. On tasting it, he wittily declared: “This devil’s drink is so delicious… we should cheat the devil by baptising it!” From then on, coffee has been dubbed the devil’s drink, or the devil’s cup.

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