I’ll Take an Iced Coffee Please

By: Caia Bevins

Ah, yes. Coffee. As a college student, you are probably more addicted to this than you are to anything else in this world. It is the lifeblood of a student body. So, whether you order a black coffee or a caramel macchiato with a double shot of espresso, soy foam, low sugar, blended with unicorn sprinkles, all over ice, double sleeve, no cup, coffee is an important part of your life. But why do we drink it? If you think about it, it’s just hot bean water which sounds disgusting, so why is it such a big deal?

Let’s take a little trip to Ancient Southern Arabia. Coffee became a very popular drink amongst Muslims as a substitute for alcohol, which was prohibited by their religious texts. It very quickly becomes a favorite amongst Arabs. The first coffeehouse appeared during the fifteenth century in Mecca and spread to Constantinople by the sixteenth century. Despite the disapproval of many religious leaders, people flocked to these establishments to discuss politics and daily news, and to spend time with other people. Even after such a short time, coffee was a necessity in many people’s lives.

Coffee didn’t make it to Europe for about another hundred years in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It spread rapidly there as well as in the American colonies. However, in England, coffee had a major competitor: tea. The hundreds of thousands of pounds of tea that came from India put a huge damper on the importation of the relatively limited supply of coffee beans.

Now, I don’t know if you know this, but tea is still a really big thing in the U.K., so why is coffee so popular in the United States? The answer may surprise you. It’s actually because of the Boston Tea Party. After all the taxes put on tea, no one wanted to buy it, but there just so happened to be an alternative that was significantly cheaper. You guessed it: coffee. It quickly became a major import and still is today. So, there you go. The next time you’re standing in line for your coffee, remember, it was all possible because some guys decided to play dress up and throw some stuff in the ocean. Thank you, Sons, of Liberty.

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