Throughout history there have been many different types of food and drink banished by religions as works of the Devil sent to test us. Coffee is no different
During the 1600s coffee was so popular and addictive in the Ottoman Empire that Sultan Murad IV wanted to make the drinking of it illegal and cut the heads off anyone found to be drinking it, however, even the thought of beheading couldn't stop the coffee-drinkers' habits!
As trade with the Arab World opened up in the 16th and 17th centuries the European Catholics main introduction to coffee came from the Muslim traders via the primary trading post of Venice
As this drink spread in popularity throughout the streets of Venice and then Rome the Catholic Pope at the time was pressured by his advisers to denounce coffee due to is association with Islam and its fascinating effects on its drinkers. It became known as the "Bitter invention of Satan" - the Devil's Drink
The Holy Father, Pope Clement VIII, was a kind Christian gentleman who was against making judgement without first trying the drink that was taking Catholics and Italians by storm.
He was handed a cup of hot coffee and upon drinking it he was reported as saying "This Satan's drink is to delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it"
Pope Clement then blessed the Coffee Beans and commented that it would be better for people to drink than alcohol. With his blessing, coffee as we know it was free to be drunk by Catholics around the world.
No one knows it this story is true or not, but we like it and unlike many religious stories it has a happy ending So whether you believe it or not next time you have a coffee offer up a little prayer of thanks to Pope Clement VIII for releasing the Devil's Drink