For 500 years, a succession of kings, sultans, and businessmen have tried to ban or destroy the world’s favorite caffeinated morning pick-me-up. Among their claims: Coffee makes you impotent! It destroys brain tissue! It attacks the nervous system! And most critically of all, it makes you want to take up arms against your government. In this episode, we answer some big questions: Is any of this true? And how did coffee survive centuries of bans, to become today’s best part of waking up?
• Uncommon Grounds: A History of Coffee and How It Transformed the World by Mark Pendergrast
• The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse by Brian Cowen
• The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like, The Atlantic (featuring Vanderbilt Institute for Coffee Studies founder Peter Martin)
• The Women’s Petition Against Coffee – 1674
• Charles II’s ban on coffeehouses – 1675
• “More Americans Reach For A Daily Cup of Coffee” – US News
• “The Slow Death of the Most British Thing There Is” – Washington Post
• Innovation and its Enemies – section on Murad IV’s coffee bans
• We couldn’t find a place to fit this into the episode, but OMG, check out this retrograde Folgers ad.
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