It might be too terrible a thing to think about!
But, if you’re living in the West, coffee might never have ever found its way to you. At least, if it wasn’t for a certain forward-thinking pope who was willing to go against the counsel of his advisers.
According to legend, the “coffee question” came to a head in 1600 while Pope Clement VIII reigned as pontiff. Coffee was already popular in the Muslim world and was starting to find its way over to Christian Europe. And for some people, that was a major cause of concern.
Wine was the popular drink among Christians, and it was of course used at Mass for the Eucharist. Muslims aren’t supposed to drink wine, and it seemed coffee had become something of a cultural substitute. As a result, some people thought that coffee in some way represented an anti-Christian beverage, a “bitter invention of Satan.” They said the pope should condemn and forbid it for Christians.
But Pope Clement wasn’t one to make a hasty decision. Before making any ruling, he said he wanted to try it first.
…And he loved it!
“This Satan’s drink is so delicious,” he exclaimed, “that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it!”
So he gave his blessing to coffee and the rest is history.