Part 2| Coffee lore & headway – 2 minute read
From where we left..
As soon as coffee lost its religious and spiritual influence, coffee houses, or Qahveh Khaneh started up in Mecca to fulfill the demands for the brew. The culture which coffee grew with its lovers was exciting. It started music, free social, political and religious discussions in the coffee house. This enraged the rulers of the region. Many attempts were made to close the Qahveh Khaneh with brutal emphasis. There was three different occasions where the crackdown on coffee was made. But, Coffee was way too admired and delicious to be stopped. And since wine was then forbidden, the region had scarcity of water and stale, and milk hardly palatable, coffee was the perfect relief for the common people. It wasn’t soon before the rulers found an interesting and profitable use for coffee. They realized that coffee consumption could be taxed.
Establishments were started which were devoted in leisure with coffee and could be compared to modern day retreats. The establishments were equipped with beautiful, elaborate wall prints, rugs and decorated pathways and walls. They were usually located throughout the city in cool, pleasant areas often with a view of the water source or scenery. It represented a retreat from the scorching heat of the desert. There was a lot of excitement on these places of retreat and some coffee houses were equipped with a live stage for the patrons. Board games were often played at the coffee houses and the Game of Bridges were said to have originated here.
Once coffee became famous through these coffee houses, it moved in to peoples home. It became an ever important part in the lives in eastern culture. Elaborate coffee events involved a burning charcoal fire in the center of the coffee hall. The halls were decorated with paintings, rugs, cushions and ornamental coffee utensils. The host had the privilege of roasting the green coffee beans and cooling the beans with manual air fans. The coffee was ground using a mortar and pestle and the brew was prepared ceremoniously. Added refreshments like dates and nuts were given along with the brew.
The host of the event served all the guests and consumed the first cup of coffee. This was an satisfying gesture to the guests that there was “no death in the cup”.
Coffee started a culture in the Near East. Hosts served their guests with homemade coffee. Merchants served coffee to their partners and wives in Turkey has the power to legally divorce a husband who failed to supply home with coffee.