Anti-Coffee Snob of the Month: (Currently Madquerading as a National Holiday)

October is a month when cinema and costume shops brim with versions of an anti-Christ, and pharmacies pedal antihistamines.  So with Kleenex, Claritin, and a cross to ward off the latest vampire flick, we bring you our Anti-Coffee Snob of the Month.

He is none other than that slave trader from Genoa himself; that voyager who aided in the transfer of diseases like small pox and typhus to The New World; that discoverer who brought coffee to the “Rich Coast” and never drank a drop. Yes, you guessed it. Our Anti-Snob of the Month is the celebrated Christopher Columbus.

Back then coffee was vogue only with those libertines in Venice (How else can a hardworking gondolier get up in the morning after shuttling party-goers to and fro while fighting off rats until the wee hours of the morning?) The admiral’s Ligurian culture frowned upon public or private consumption of coffee:  Alcohol good, caffeine bad.  So a while back “in fourteen hundred and ninety-two (through to 1502) when Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” he was blasted on sherry. No wonder he missed Asia by a long shot. High in sugar, high in alcohol content…Hangover! He should have known better. He’s from right next to the Piedmont region of Italy. Surely there was a nice Barolo he could have brought with him. (Wine Snobs we refer to your historical expertise here.) He still might have gotten lost, but he’d have had a better food/wine pairing with the chocolate he brought back to The Old World.

Maybe if Columbus had had a good strong cup of coffee during his explorations he would have docked at his intended destination.  But then where would we be? There might not have been The Columbian Exchange. No New World potatoes for Ireland’s famine? No tomatoes for spaghetti sauce? And conversely, what about no Old World horses for the Amerindians or wheat for America’s Bread Basket?  Can you imagine a Costa Rica without a coffee plantation?  Eureka!

Therefore, we recognize this inadvertently influential, non-consumer as our Anti-Coffee Snob of the Month.

Resources include:;;;;;; Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, volumn 6; my third grade teacher


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