Happy International Coffee Day!
Today, October 1, is the first official International Coffee Day to celebrate this divine beverage.
Although, who needs a special day to celebrate coffee?
“To an old man a cup of coffee is like the door post of an old house—it sustains and strengthens him.” Old Bourbon proverb
And so it is with me!
I salute Sheik Gemaleddin, mufti of Mocha, who is said to have discovered the virtues of coffee about 1454.
Did you know that India got her first coffee beans only in the 17th century?
Legend has it that, Baba Budan, who was on a pilgrimage, managed to get through customs (or whatever they had those days) seven coffee seeds from Yemen. Yep – ordinary people weren’t allowed it in their luggage. These seeds were then planted in the hills of Chandragiri in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka.
Yes, yes, that’s where I live! The hills are alive with the sound of … coffee being poured!
But although coffee came to India, for more than a century, it was confined to this area. Real credit for introducing it to the rest of the country goes to the aptly named Mr.JH Jolly, a manager in a trading company in Madras. After a lot of hiccups over the decades, today India stands as the 6th largest producer of coffee in the world.
Strangely, we don’t find a mention in the International Coffee Day site or celebrations. Hmm.
Not that it is going to stop us from celebrating coffee… every day!
Coffee is a language in itself – Jackie Chan
I knew there was a reason I didn’t live before the 17th Century!
In fact, South India got her first real coffee circa 1940. What a relief! It feels like I cut it real close by being born in the 60s!
Funnily enough, I did not have my first coffee until 1979! But I grew up in a household where each member savored and delighted in her mega cup of coffee! Thank you, Mom!
I am excited to bring you some tributes to coffee! In verse, no less.
Regardless of your own coffee personality, you will love it!
This is one of the earliest Arabic poems in praise of coffee, dating back to 1511.
In Praise of Coffee
Translation from the Arabic
O Coffee! Thou dost dispel all cares, thou art the object of desire to the scholar.
This is the beverage of the friends of God; it gives health to those in its service who strive after wisdom.
Prepared from the simple shell of the berry, it has the odor of musk and the color of ink.
The intelligent man who empties these cups of foaming coffee, he alone knows truth.
May God deprive of this drink the foolish man who condemns it with incurable obstinacy.
Coffee is our gold. Wherever it is served, one enjoys the society of the noblest and most generous men.
O drink! As harmless as pure milk, which differs from it only in its blackness.
Beautiful eh? Lyrical, almost!
There are two types of people. Coffee people and Sad people.
An 18th century French poet describes coffee thus:
Lines on Coffee
Translation from the French
Good coffee is more than a savory cup,
Its aroma has power to dry liquor up.
By coffee you get upon leaving the table
A mind full of wisdom, thoughts lucid, nerves stable;
And odd tho’ it be, ‘t is none the less true,
Coffee’s aid to digestion permits dining anew.
And what ‘s very true, tho’ few people know it,
Fine coffee ‘s the basis of every fine poet;
For many a writer as windy as Boreas
Has been vastly improved by the drink ever glorious.
Coffee brightens the dullness of heavy philosophy,
And opens the science of mighty geometry.
Our law-makers, too, when the nectar imbibing,
Plan wondrous reforms, quite beyond the describing;
The odor of coffee they delight in inhaling,
And promise the country to alter laws ailing.
From the brow of the scholar coffee chases the wrinkles,
And mirth in his eyes like a firefly twinkles;
And he, who before was but a hack of old Homer,
Becomes an original, and that ‘s no misnomer.
Observe the astronomer who ‘s straining his eyes
In watching the planets which soar thro’ the skies;
Alas, all those bright bodies seem hopelessly far
Till coffee discloses his own guiding star.
But greatest of wonders that coffee effects
Is to aid the news-editor as he little expects;
Coffee whispers the secrets of hidden diplomacy,
Hints rumors of wars and of scandals so racy.
Inspiration by coffee must be nigh unto magic,
For it conjures up facts that are certainly tragic;
And for a few pennies, coffee’s small price per cup,
“Ye editor’s” able to swallow the Universe up.
Happy International Coffee Day.
I am celebrating by enjoying some freshly ground heaven – that’s what coffee is – with family, friends and of course, myself!
Enjoy the slideshow!