Posted Saturday, June 29’th 2013
I’ve always had a weakness for the wine of the bean (Arabic to Dutch translation: Kaffee). Early in the morning, the original Arabic word was seemingly too long gone to recall, but I was able to remember that it derived from the phrase “wine of the bean.”
As I poured the aromatic little beans into my grinder, I was taken with a thought. My olfactory sensors, in spite of the dimness brought on by age, seemed to be transporting me into another space altogether. The early hour combined with my natural grogginess to make the transport swift and easy. Suddenly I was in one of my favorite places, an old bookstore, with its lode of old novel pages.
Coffee and old books: my nose wanted to sense those two things as similar, or the same. Methinks it’s because I so often have them in combination!
Most people probably don’t question the genesis of the bean, to ask from whence it comes, whilst they are partaking of their favorite early morning beverage. There are varying accounts, but most seem to point to the old Arabs as being the discoverers of the “wine of the bean,” and for bestowing it with its name. For awhile they embraced it, then they forbade it, as being too much intoxicant for the health of the body. For three hundred years it was verboten. Eventually, they lightened up, and now you can see the words “Arabica beans” on many of those aromatic packages, neatly stacked in coffee section of your local store.