I have begun research and instigation into my final year design. One of the ideas I have for my final year design is investigating how architectural space can facilitate the social and cultural dynamics between people and the consumption of Coffee. Much more than just a mere caffe…a cultural hub…where arts, music, intellect and the education of coffee process merge.
‘The heart doesn’t yern for a coffe or a coffee house. The heart yerns for the friend. The coffee is the excuse.’
– A Turkish proverb –
The Wine of the Bean
The English word Coffee entered via the Dutch word Koffie, which was taken from the Turkish word Kahave, borrowed from the Arabic word qahwa, a shortened version of qahhwat al-bun ‘wine of the bean’
The Legend of Kaldi
There are so many different stories of how the coffee bean was discovered…many of which sound quite strange. However there is one story which is considered the most legitimate of them all.
The goat herder namedKaldi is said to have made the first recorded discovery of coffee. Kaldi worked in the Ethiopian highlands ,where coffee trees still currently grow, as they have for centuries. The story states that Kaldi noticed that his goats had stumbled across some berries from a certain tree. After they had even then he noticed how they became quite energetic and foundit hard to get to sleep that night. Kaldi reported his findings of the berries to the abbot of the local monastery.
They eventually discovered that they could make a drink from this berry and they found out that it kept them alert for long hours of evening prayer. Soon the abbot had shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and ever so slowly knowledge of the energizing effects of the berries began to spread. As word moved east and coffee reached the Arabian peninsula, it began a journey which would spread its reputation across the globe.
Schools of the Wise
Arabs were the first to cultivate and trade coffee. By the 15th century coffee was being grown in the Yemeni distric of Arabia and by the 16th century the knowledge of coffee and it’s cultivation spread to Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. The popularity of the coffee drink spread rapidly due to alcohol being forbidden by the Koran. Muslims found coffee and it’s stimulating effects a sufficient substitute.
Coffee was first drunk in homes among family members. However it was not long until the first coffee house was open for the public drinking of coffee. It is said that the first coffee house was opened in Instanbull in 1554. These coffee houses became extremely popular where people would visit for all kinds of social activities. They listend to music, watched perfomers and played chess. The coffe house became a place which was much more than just about drinking coffee. It became a venue were stimulating conversations, arguments and where people kept up with the current news of the day. They became an extremely important center for the exchange of information. These coffee houses became known as ‘schools of the wise’ where many great writers, poets and literary men would congregate.
In 1615 coffee was introduced to Venice. Coffee came with a negative stigma attached to it as the local clergy condemned it naming it a ‘bitter invention of Satan’. A the time the controversy became so unstable that the current Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene. Before making his final decision he decided that he would taste it. he loved it so much that he gave it a thumbs up. By the 17th century coffee had spread to Europe and became popular all across the continent. Throughout London the coffee houses became hotbeds for intellectual discussion and debate. There were even particular coffee houses that were known for their particular knowledge fields, such as politics or science.
The coffee houses became a much more popular place for communication than the local pubs. This was largely due to the fact that when drinking alcohol, you either become drowsy,or loose the ability to think straight. With coffee however, it stimulates the mind and relaxes you at the same time. Coffee houses throughout London became known as ‘Penny Universities’ as for one penny you could engage in the exchange in intelligent conversation, lively debate and intellectual relationships.