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11105.  Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:02 am Reply with quote

When you've had enough of skinny Americano frappucino lattés or whatever they're called, why not try coffee that's been rescued from the droppings of a civet "cat" or the vomit of a weasel?

Both are popular in Vietnam and now available by mail-order:

If this has already been covered in QI, the civet (being fileable under "C") is quite interesting in its own right, not least because it gets its perineal glands scraped in the name of perfumery:

16456.  Wed Mar 23, 2005 8:35 am Reply with quote

Further details from Dotcom on the other forum:

"One of Vietnam’s domestic offerings, “weasel coffee,” has the potential to appeal to the palates of high-end drinkers the world over. Kay Johnson describes the colorful history of this drink in the Straits Times. Weasel coffee was originally made from coffee beans that had been eaten and excreted by weasels, enhancing the taste of the beans. A chain of coffee shops in Vietnam specializes in weasel coffee, although these days the beans never see a weasel’s insides, rather going through a synthetic process intended to simulate the effects of a journey through the weasel’s digestive tract. "

16851.  Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:50 am Reply with quote

I’ve been unable to track it down yet, but perhaps someone else will succeed: I read somewhere that when coffee appeared in Europe in the 17th century, it was considered a dangerous, potent and rather shocking drug - a danger to social cohesion and mental stability. If we could find a sufficiently sensational contemporary description, Stephen could read it out and ask “Which drug is being condemned here?”, with forfeits for cannabis, ecstasy, acid and so on.

16857.  Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:16 am Reply with quote

Not exactly what you were looking for MatC, I’m afraid, but I’ve found a few bits of anti-coffee hysteria:

A 1673 pamphlet entitled The Character of a Coffee-House compared the appearance and flavor of coffee to “Pluto’s diet-drink, that witches tipple out of dead men’s skulls.” The typical coffeehouse, the author alleged, “stinks of tobacco worse than hell of brimstone.” [The pictures below invariably show the patrons of coffee houses with tobacco pipes.] The beverage itself was served in filthy pots and dishes, the landlord only occasionally “scraping off the contracted soot”, which he then simply substituted for ground coffee, “their taste and virtue being so near of kin, he dares defy the veriest coffee-critic to distinguish them.” Above all, the author condemned coffee houses as dens of subversion, where the social classes promiscuously mingled and spread the rumors published in gazettes and pamphlets, where “every little fellow in a camlet [a kind of outerwear] takes upon him to transpose affairs both in church and state, to shew reasons against acts of parliament, and condemn the decrees of general councils.”

It was precisely such fears that led the government to suppress coffee houses by royal proclamation in 1675. However, the suppression seems not to have been enforced, because the number of coffee houses continued to grow over the 1670s and 80s.

For failing to comply, the punishment for first time offenders was public beating and humiliation. Second (and last) time offenders were sewn into a leather bag and thrown into the river.

Coffee has always stirred much controversy. While the Ethiopian monks considered it as a gift from God - it allowed them to study and pray longer - Italian clergy labeled it an invention of Satan and condemned coffee during the 17th century. (It was probably coffee's proven effect of increasing mental and intellectual activity what made it suspicious to rulers and religious leaders.) However, this label was forever lifted when Pope Clement VII tried the beverage for himself, liked it and gave it his approval.

"Coffee is the beverage of choice for the journalist or writer... By drinking coffee, logical consistency, consecutive thinking derived from facts, is promoted by physical means, and it can be said that even though for health reasons there may be doubts about drinking much coffee, yet for those who wish to ascend to the higher regions of spiritual life, it is not amiss."
(Rudolf Steiner, Nutrition and Stimulants)

16873.  Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:21 pm Reply with quote

I'm not entirely sure what 'ascending to the higher regions of spiritual life' has to do with journalism.

17003.  Thu Mar 31, 2005 11:52 am Reply with quote

Coffee is illegal in large areas of Thailand:

18634.  Thu Apr 28, 2005 9:08 am Reply with quote

Caffeine withdrawal has been classified as a psychiatric disorder:

18683.  Fri Apr 29, 2005 6:28 am Reply with quote

The Alex cartoon strip contained an assertion this week that
"coffee" is the most universal word in the world - the same basic phonetic sound represents the concept of "coffee" in just about every human tongue from Albanian to Zulu, Bengali to Yiddish

No idea if this is true.

18684.  Fri Apr 29, 2005 7:08 am Reply with quote

Dunno about coffee, but it appears to me that all languages except Welsh seem to call the Worldwide Web and the Internet exactly that.

18685.  Fri Apr 29, 2005 7:26 am Reply with quote

A lot of places on the net have OK, or Amen as the most universal words. I would have gone for Coca-cola, McDonalds, or something like “me” or “my”.

Gaazy, do they really say “It’s raining old women and sticks.” In Wales?

18719.  Sat Apr 30, 2005 6:25 am Reply with quote

Lloyd's of London is named after a coffee house:
In the 17th Century London's importance as a trade centre led to an increasing demand for ship and cargo insurance. Edward Lloyd opened a coffee house in 1688, encouraging a clientele of ships' captains, merchants and ship owners - earning him a reputation for trustworthy shipping news. This ensured that Lloyd's coffee house became recognised as the place for obtaining marine insurance.

More on this here and here.

Frederick The Monk
18722.  Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:41 am Reply with quote

Coffee shops were believed by the Ottoman government to be hothouses of political dissent. In 1656, the Ottoman Grand Vizier Koprulu established laws that shut down the coffee houses, and outlawed coffee drinking all together. If a person broke this law, they were beaten with a club. The second time they were caught, they were sewn up in a leather bag, and thrown into the nearest river to drown.


18727.  Sat Apr 30, 2005 9:18 am Reply with quote

'What would you risk for your morning cup of coffee?'

Well rather than be sewn into a leather bag and thrown in a river, I think I'd stick to tea! Incidentally, I wonder why leather? You would have thought a leather bag would be more likely to keep the water out than a cloth one.

18745.  Sun May 01, 2005 10:25 am Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
Gaazy, do they really say “It’s raining old women and sticks” in Wales?
Yep, they still do. Bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn. It's actually a sort of pun; "bwrw" means "to hit", but the phrase "bwrw glaw" means "raining" (lit. hitting [you with] rain"); but in common parlance, nobody includes the word "glaw" any more - so "mae'n bwrw" means "it's raining" (not "it's hitting"). So "bwrw hen wragedd â ffyn" (note the circumflex) means "hitting old women with sticks", whereas the same phrase without the circumflex means "raining old women and sticks" (â = with, a - and).

Unfortunately, we get a lot of rain in Wales, so there are dozens of phrases about it, from "stido bwrw" to "glawio o'i hochor hi" to "piso" (yup, pissing).

Last edited by Gaazy on Sun May 01, 2005 11:38 am; edited 1 time in total

18751.  Sun May 01, 2005 11:32 am Reply with quote



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