By Tim Castle
No matter who they are or what they do, people look for connections and community. After all, it’s not for nothing that we call ourselves “social animals.” right now, it’s “social media” and a digital “social network,” but 10,000 years ago it was a fire, a cave, or just a safe, dry place.
Six hundred years ago, one common social option—especially in parts of what we now know as the middle-east—was an early version of today’s coffee house. Gathering together with one’s community to drink coffee has been encouraged since coffee was first introduced as a beverage. Coffee was not as intoxicating (or forbidden) as alcoholic inebriation (as per the relatively new edicts of mohammed—only a thousand years old then), and the coffee ritual could be enjoyed without risking religious or legal censure.
Over time, the tradition of social interactions over coffee spread throughout the Arab World, Western Europe and then to the Western Hemisphere, both in cafés and in homes. From the time the practice of consuming coffee became popular in the 1400s, it quickly became apparent that coffee helped us make those connections.