When I was doing my masters, I loved learning sociological made-up words which took a Germanic approach to combining loads of words together to make one really long word.  I think the idea is that by using them, you’re supposed to sound clever/ridiculously pretentious.  One of my favorite of these was ‘glocalization’ or the process of the global becoming local, and the local becoming global.

Today, the coffee machine in my office is broken, and I’m starting to get that weird fluffy brain feeling I get when I’ve been deprived of caffeine or nicotine for too long. To distract myself, I thought I’d write a post on coffee prohibition.

I’m by no means the first person to have been denied caffeine.  Coffee was banned by Muslim jurists and scholars in Mecca in 1511, although the prohibition was overturned about thirty years later. It was also banned by Murad IV of Ottoman Turkey in the 17th century. In a ‘2 strikes and out’ approach, first time offenders were beaten, while repeat offenders were sewn into a leather bag and tossed into the Bosphorous. The Sultan would also walk the streets of Istanbul, ordering the beheading of anyone he saw drinking the stuff.

In 1676 Charles II of England passed a law banning coffee houses in England, because of their association with seditious movements, although popular protest led to the ban being rescinded two days before coming into effect. Coffee was also banned by Frederick the Great in Germany in 1777, because of concerns over a trade deficit, and was prohibited in Ethiopia until 1889.

So what does any of this have to do with ‘Glocalization’?  Not much really.  It’s just that when I was researching googling all of this, I came across a statement from the Joseph Sette, head of the International Coffee Organization. In response to news that stockpiles of coffee are at their lowest levels since records began in the 1960s, he said, “there is simply not enough coffee in the world”. I feel your pain Sette, I really do.

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