Coffee as a Bad Guy?

I recently came across an article about a sultan that would behead people for drinking coffee.

Not making this up.

The name of this Turkish ruler was Sultan Murad IV, and he did not mess around.

Apparently there was a fear that those who drank coffee were keen on conspiring to overthrow the government. The sultan and friends would disguise themselves as commoners and visit coffee houses in Istanbul, where they noticed a striking difference in behavior between those that drank wine and those who remained sober and sipped on coffee.

The citizens drinking wine were happily singing and having a great time, while those drinking coffee seemed to be hatching conspiracies.

This train of logic seems a bit flawed to me.

While we’re at it, were these people eating different things? Wearing different colors? Let’s outlaw bread and the color purple.

Just saying, if someone is going to plot to overthrow the government sober, they will also plot to overthrow the government when they have been drinking. They’ll just do it at a higher decibel level and have a tendency to repeat themselves.

(I’ve heard political debates in bars and otherwise. I know.)

Even with such dire consequences, people continued to drink their coffee.

What would you do if faced with such a serious punishment? Would you give up your daily brew for fear of losing your head?

I’m not sure what I would do, to be honest; I really like coffee, but I’m not positive that it’s something that is worth potentially dying over. I also like tea, so I do have an option to fall back on.

Then again, it’s utter bollocks that a beverage would be outlawed in such a manner, so maybe protesting against the idea itself would be worth something.

Not surprisingly, Murad is credited with restoring authority and putting an end to rebelliousness in the Ottoman empire. Surprisingly (at least, to me), he lived to the ripe old age of 27 and died of liver disease. I would have thought that such a ruler would have been assassinated, but there you have it. He must have been a really scary guy and had amazing security.

Here is his face.


You can learn more about coffee as a bad guy here, from NPR:

And here, from the Vintage News:

I’m going to go and drink my delicious Rook’s Blend brew, because I can.


-Jessica, your Media Specialist



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