The earliest evidence of coffee drinking appears in 15th century Yemen. Traders took the plant from its native Ethiopia to their homeland and from there it spread across Asia and had reached Europe by the 1500s.But over history, the love story between coffee and its drinkers has not been plain sailing. The Romeo and Juliet of the hot drink world, the story of Man and his coffee has been wrought with obstacles.
Over the past six centuries, coffee has been banned from human consumption four treacherous times. First, in 16th century Mecca where leaders believed that its stimulatory effects fueled radical thinking and then, later that century in Italy, where clergyman believed the drink to be ‘satanic’. Fortunately, Pope Clement VII loved coffee so much that he lifted the ban and had coffee baptised in 1600.
Yet, again in 1623, Ottoman leader Murad IV punished all coffee drinking by law. Anyone found in possession of the drink was whipped and thrown into the sea. And in 1746 the Swedish government made it illegal to own coffee-ware, including mugs and dishes. Luckily, today it is very much legal (though not always recommended) to drink as much coffee as you wish.