Most people love coffee and cannot imagine living without it. However, there has been a few times in history when coffee has been prohibited for a variety of reasons. If one of these bans had been successful, would we enjoy the expansive list of coffee products that we have today?
In the early part of the 16th century, a ban on coffee was enacted in the city of Mecca. Because of its use as a stimulant, leaders in Mecca became concerned about the effects that it had on the general population. Sure, it was alright to use coffee to stay awake all night praying, but they were more worried about the perceived increase in radical thinking that they blamed the beverage for.
Also in the 16th century, an attempt to prohibit coffee took place in Italy. However, the leaders there did not count on the fact that Pope Clement VII was a big fan of coffee. Not only did the pope lift the ban, he gave it his blessing. During this time when the pope’s word was as good as God’s, his recognition of coffee as a desirable thing caused a huge surge in the popularity of the beverage.
A few decades later, it was the Ottomans attempting to rid themselves of our favorite caffeinated beverage. Punishments included beatings and being thrown in the Bosporus waterway.
More than a century passed before coffee came under fire again. This time, it was Sweden that attempted to banish the drink. Confiscating beans and even mugs from the populace, they gave coffee only to prisoners in order for doctors to analyze its deadly effects.
A little bit later in the 18th century, Prussia also attempted a coffee ban. Their concerns were not for the detrimental effects of coffee on the people drinking it but on the beer industry. They believed that if they rid the country of coffee, people would drink more beer, which was considered the healthier morning pick me up.