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A Pilgrim Smuggled Coffee Beans To India: The Intriguing History behind the Development of Coffee Culture

India’s first coffee house opened in Calcutta after the battle of Plassey in 1780

best time to drink coffee
Do you prefer a cup of coffee every morning to wake your body up? Experts say that is an unhealthy practice. Pixabay
  • Coffee was kept as an Arab monopoly in Ethiopia and was traded in roasted form
  • The beans were introduced on the Malabar coast by Arab traders
  • The coffee plantations developed in numerous amounts in south India and were soon hit by an illness

New Delhi, August 19, 2017: Indians adore their coffee and tea. Both drinks, however, are not indigenous to the country and foreigners introduced them to us. While British presented tea, coffee beans have an all the more intriguing story.

The coffee saga has an act of rebellion. In the seventeenth century, a Sufi saint named Baba Budan went to Mecca on a pilgrimage. Upon landing in Mecca, he discovered that coffee was found a century sooner in Ethiopia, was kept as an Arab monopoly and was just traded in roasted form. Budan chose to oppose this and sewed a few seeds into his robes. He was excluded from checking while on his return to India, as he was a saint. Upon his arrival in the nation, Budan planted seven seeds in 1670 in Chikmagalur.

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However, numerous food historians believe that Budan was not the first person to acquaint coffee beans to the subcontinent. In Hazel Colaco’s book ‘A Cache To Coffee’, she wrote that the coffee beans were introduced much earlier on the Malabar coast by Arab traders.

Edward Terry, a British man in Jahangir’s court, wrote in 1616, “Many of the people there (in India), who are strict in their religion, drink no wine at all; but they use a liquor, more wholesome than pleasant, they call coffee, made by a black seed boiled in water, which turns it almost into the same colour, but doth very little alter the taste of the water.” He noted that notwithstanding it helps to cleanse the blood, helps in digestion and to accelerate the spirits, mentioned website.

Soon, the trade of coffee beans started across the world with the race being led by Ottoman Empire. The plantations developed in numerous amounts in south India and were soon hit by an illness. “Coffee rust” started to affect the growth of the plant which prompted increasing imports from South America. By WWI, coffee acreage declined and cleared a path for research.

The Great Depression too halted its popularity which caused the British to advertise for boosting this beverage’s sale. Walter Thompson, the advertisers, recommended the companies to establish coffee shops in Indian cities, therefore creating the base of a great culture of coffee-drinking in high societies and major Indian cities.

A food historian named David Burton, in his book called ‘The Raj at the Table’ wrote, “India’s first coffee house opened in Calcutta after the battle of Plassey in 1780. Soon after, John Jackson and Cottrell Barrett opened the original Madras Coffee House, which was followed in 1792 by the Exchange Coffee Tavern at the Madras Fort.”

He wrote about how the proprietor of the latter enterprise of the latter said that he had decided to operate on the lines of London’s Lloyd’s, by keeping a record of the ships’ arrival as well as departure and offering European and Indian newspapers to his customers for reading. Other houses too offered free utilization of billiard tables, recouping their expenses by the high rate of 1 rupee for a one coffee dish.

Soon, a new, more-resistant, type of the seed known as s795 Arabica was developed, which changed the course of food history. Indian coffee developed quickly with advancement in irrigation and technology and Green Revolution.

Indian filter coffee was made famous by Indian Coffee Houses, operated by the Coffee Board of India, in the 1940s. In the 20th century, the Indian filter coffee migrated to Singapore and Malaysia with Indian Muslims where it is now well known as ‘Kopi tarik‘.

– prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter Hkaur1025

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Cafes in San Francisco are Replacing Disposable Coffee Cups with Glass Jars

San Francisco Cafes Are Banishing Disposable Coffee Cups

coffee paper cups
The growing number of coffee houses in San Francisco re banishing paper to-go cups and replacing them with everything from glass jars to rental mugs and BYO cup policies. Pixabay

A new cafe culture is brewing in the San Francisco area, where a growing number of coffee houses are banishing paper to-go cups and replacing them with everything from glass jars to rental mugs and BYO cup policies.

What started as a small trend among neighborhood cafes to reduce waste is gaining support from some big names in the city’s food and coffee world.

Celebrated chef Dominique Crenn, owner of the three-star Michelin restaurant Atelier Crenn, is opening a San Francisco cafe next year that will have no to-go bags or disposable coffee cups and will use no plastic. Customers who plan to sip and go at Boutique Crenn will be encouraged to bring their own coffee cups, says spokeswoman Kate Bittman.

On a bigger scale, the Blue Bottle coffeehouse chain, which goes through about 15,000 to-go cups a month at its 70 U.S. locations, says it wants to “show our guests and the world that we can eliminate disposable cups.”

Coffee to Go cups
Reusable to-go glass jars rest on a counter top at the Perch Coffee Shop, which stopped using paper and plastic cups in Oakland, Calif. VOA

Blue Bottle is starting small with plans to stop using paper cups at two of its San Francisco area branches in 2020, as part of a pledge to go “zero waste“ by the end of next year. Coffee to-go customers will have to bring their own mug or pay a deposit for a reusable cup, which they can keep or return for a refund. The deposit fee will likely be between $3 and $5, the company said.

Blue Bottle’s pilot program will help guide the company on how to expand the idea nationwide, CEO Bryan Meehan said in a statement.

“We expect to lose some business,” he said. “We know some of our guests won’t like it and we’re prepared for that.”

Larger coffee and fast-food chains around the U.S. are feeling a sense of urgency to be more environmentally friendly, and will no doubt be watching, said Bridget Croke, of New York-based recycling investment firm Closed Loop Partners, which is working with Starbucks and McDonald’s to develop an eco-friendly alternative to the disposable coffee cup.

Despite the name, today’s conventional paper cups for hot drinks aren’t made solely from paper. They also have plastic linings that prevent leakage but make them hard to recycle, Croke said. She says it’s unlikely large national chains will banish disposable cups, in the immediate term, or persuade all customers to bring mugs, so they’re looking for other solutions.

Starbucks and McDonald’s chipped in $10 million to a partnership with Closed Loop to develop the “single-use cup of the future” that is recyclable and compostable.

“They know there are business risks to not solving these problems. And the cup is the tip of the spear for them,” said Croke, adding that Blue Bottle’s choice of San Francisco for its test run is clearly the right market.

Starbucks, which has more than 15,000 U.S. cafes and about 16,000 internationally, plans to test newly designed recyclable cups in five cities next year: San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Vancouver and London, spokeswoman Noelle Novoa said.

California cities have long been leaders in recycling and passing laws to encourage eco-friendly habits.

This year, the state became the first to ban restaurants from automatically handing out plastic straws with drinks. It was also the first, in 2014, to prohibit stores from providing disposable plastic grocery bags to shoppers, and bags at checkout now cost 10 cents.

Coffee disposable cups
The step of banishing disposable cups was taken so that the cups do not harm the environment. Pixabay

Also this year, San Francisco International Airport became the nation’s first major airport to stop selling water in plastic bottles. Water is now sold in glass bottles and aluminum cans, and travelers are encouraged to bring their own empty bottles to fill up for free.

Starting in January, cafes and restaurants in Berkeley will charge 25 cents for disposable cups, and San Francisco is considering similar legislation.

Anticipating the fee, a group of about a dozen Berkeley cafes teamed up in a mug-sharing program, where customers can rent a stainless steel cup from one cafe and drop it off at any of the others. Vessel, the Colorado start-up that provides the cups, has a similar program running in Boulder.

Many coffee drinkers in the San Francisco area are taking Blue Bottle’s announcement in stride.

“Of course it’s a good idea,” said freelance writer Tracy Schroth, at a Blue Bottle cafe in Oakland. “It’s such a small step to ask people to bring their own cup. People just have to get into the mindset.”

At a Blue Bottle in San Francisco, electrician Jeff Michaels said he does love the coffee but doesn’t want to pay more if he forgets a mug.

“I paid almost $7 for this coffee,” Michaels said, sipping a cafe mocha. “How much are people willing to pay for a coffee?”

Small-cafe owner Kedar Korde is optimistic that one day it will become trendy for coffee drinkers to carry around reusable mugs, just like stainless steel water bottles have become a must-have accessory in the San Francisco area.

Korde’s Perch Cafe in Oakland ditched paper and plastic cups in September, along with lids and straws.

“We now offer a glass jar that comes in a 12 ounce (350 milliliters) or 16 ounce (470 milliliters) size,” Korde said. Customers put down a 50 cent deposit and can return it for a refund or keep it and get 25 cents off future drinks. The cafe also sells 50 cent reusable sleeves for the jars.

Korde says he’s been surprised by how quickly customers have adapted. He was inspired to make the change after his 9-year-old daughter’s school did a cleanup project at Lake Merritt, across from his cafe, and found their disposable cups in the water.

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His daughter joked that she shouldn’t have to clean her room if he couldn’t keep his stuff out of the lake, but he took it more seriously.

“We’re a small coffee shop. We’re not going to save the world,” Korde said. But at least “our cups are no longer winding up in the lake.” (VOA)