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Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Drawing on the accounts of early European travelers, original Arabic sources on jurisprudence and etiquette, and treatises on coffee from the period, the author recounts the colorful early history of the spread of coffee and the influence of coffeehouses in the medieval Near East. Detailed descriptions of the design, atmosphere, management, and patrons of early coffeehouse ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 1st 1985 by University of Washington Press
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J.M. Hushour
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not so much a history of coffee and its public institutions, as a look at how something new affects the societies in which it emerges.
Hattox traces the probable roots of coffee as social beverage in the Sufi tariqas of Yemen, the Hijaz and then spreading north. He also traces the problematic reception the beverage weathered over some decades as debates within Islamic jurisprudence went back and forth between coffee-is-evil to coffee-is-fucking-great!
Now, be careful: as Hattox warns, this wasn't
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating book on the rise of coffee in the Middle East and its public acceptance and consumption, as reflected in the parallel emergence of coffee houses, that comes with an interesting twist. In detailing the rise of coffee in the late 15th/early 16th century in the Islamic Middle East, the author highlights an interesting aspect of its story: namely the legal wrangling over whether or not coffee is a mind altering drug in class with alcohol. Islamic scholars, as much as any drinke ...more
Jacob Moreno
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent account of the influence coffee and coffeehouses had on the islamic world. It touches on the discovery of coffee, legal approaches to coffee, medical studies, and how the coffeehouses changed social life.
Jacob Lines
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: law
Coffee burst onto the scene in the Near East in the middle of the 5th century. When it did, it raised a whole host of questions. Was it permissible under Islamic law? It seemed to be intoxicating in some way – did that make it like wine? Or was it something different? Not only that, but coffee brought coffeehouses, where men would sit and talk and talk into the night. What about coffeehouses? What should be done about them? Or were they harmless after all? This book is fascinating history. It te ...more
Mary Catelli
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-modern, food
A look at the introduction of coffee into Arabic society.

Reviews what history is known of how it arrived, and then into the first controversy over whether it was permissible. The claims made that it induced drunkenness. The medical views on it.

And perhaps more important, the social context. It caused coffee houses -- reputable alternative to taverns -- to spring up. Well, semi-reputable. One of coffee's big problems was its association with the activities that went on in coffee-houses. from the
Farras Abdelnour
May 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: society, history
Excellent, informative, and entertaining discussion of the history of cafes and coffee in a social/political context.
Akmal A.
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Perjalanan dari Yogyakarta ke Jakarta memakan masa 8 jam terus aku mencapai buku yang aku copyleft sendiri untuk baca. Kopi adalah tanaman yang punya pengaruh kuat sekular atau religius. Kopi punya sejarah yang panjang sejak diperkenalkan di dunia oleh peradaban muslim sehingga pusat peradaban beralih ke barat, kopi tidak lepas menjadi bahan komoditi.

Penulis menulis sejarah awal tentang kopi yang tertulis dalam dunia Muslim. Kopi dijadikan sebab orang mula bicara tentang politik, tentang kebebas
Many avid coffee drinkers & coffee fans would be surprised to learn that the origins of coffee trace back to the Arab world & Yemen.This is proven through research.

“[Ralph S. Hattox] found several different stories about how coffee-drinking originated, all pointing to Sufi mystics living in Yemen and their need to stay awake for their all-night prayer services.”
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Coffee is so commonplace today that most of its avid consumers are unaware of just how controversial a beverage it was in its early years. Yet its initial appearance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was opposed by several legal and medical figures, some of whom even attempted to ban coffee from consumption by Muslims. This controversy serves as the starting point for Ralph Hattox’s book, which describes the emergence of coffee in the region by using these efforts and the debates they spa ...more
Hunter Quinn
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Educational book on the Ottoman civilization. However, it was rather dry. It shows how coffee and the rise of the coffeehouse radically changed society. Unless you are interested in seeing how the domestic life of the Ottoman was changed in the seventeenth century, this book will most likely be of little use.
Fraser Sherman
Mar 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
3.5 stars. Specialized, but I liked it. The book covers the birth of coffee as a Mideastern trade good (probably beginning in Yemen) and the various reasons, medical and religious, that some authorities raised over whether it was acceptable to Islam. As someone who didn't know much about how Islam handles these questions, I found it fascinating. ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting book. It has a lot more detail than I wanted, but that is not the fault of the author. If I was doing a study on the history of coffee, it would be very helpful indeed. Nevertheless, I learned a lot about how the use of coffee spread throughout the Muslim world. It would be interesting now to read how it spread throughout Europe.
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