Friday, May 23, 2008

The History of Coffee

Thanks to Starbuck's I can now answer the question "How did they discover coffee". I feel smarter all ready!

The history of coffee is as rich as the brew itself
, dating back more than a thousand years. The first coffee plants are said to have come from the Horn of Africa on the shores of the Red Sea. Originally, coffee beans were taken as a food and not as a beverage. East African tribes would grind the coffee cherries together, mixing the results into a paste with animal fat. Rolled into little balls, the mixture was said to give warriors much-needed energy for battle. Later, around the year 1000 AD, Ethiopians concocted a type of wine from coffee berries, fermenting the dried beans in water. Coffee also grew naturally on the Arabian Peninsula, and it was there, during the 11th century that coffee was first developed into a hot drink.

The so-called stimulating properties of coffee were thought by many during these ancient times to give a sort of religious ecstasy, and the drink earned a very mystical sort of reputation, shrouded in secrecy and associated with priests and doctors. So, it is not surprising that two prominent legends emerged to explain the discovery of this magic bean.

According to one story, a goat-herder noticed that his herd became friskier than usual after consuming the red cherries of a wild coffee shrub. Curious, he tasted the fruit himself. He was delighted by its invigorating effects, and was even spotted by a group of nearby monks dancing with his goats. Soon the monks began to boil the bean themselves and use the liquid to stay awake during all-night ceremonies. The other story is about a Muslim dervish who was
condemned by his enemies to wander in the desert and eventually die of starvation. In his delirium, the young man heard a voice instructing him to eat the fruit from a nearby coffee tree. Confused, the dervish tried to soften the beans in water, and when this failed, he simply drank the
liquid. Interpreting his survival and energy as a sign of God, he returned to his people, spreading the faith and the recipe.

The cultivation of coffee began sometime in the fifteenth century, and for many centuries to follow, the Yemen province of Arabia was the world's primary source of coffee. The demand for coffee in the Near East was very high. The beans leaving the Yemeni port of Mocha for trade with Alexandria and Constantinople were highly guarded. In fact, no fertile plants were allowed to leave the country. Despite the restrictions, Muslim pilgrims from across the globe during their pilgrimages to Mecca managed to smuggle coffee plants back to their homelands, and coffee crops soon took root in India.

Coffee also made its way into Europe around this time through the city of Venice, where fleets traded perfumes, teas, dyes and fabrics with Arabic merchants along the Spice Route. The beverage eventually gained popularity with the masses when street lemonade vendors began selling it in addition to cold beverages. Many European merchants grew accustomed to drinking coffee overseas and brought it back with them.

By the middle of the 17th century the Dutch dominated the world's merchant shipping industry, and they introduced large-scale coffee cultivation to their colonies in Indonesia on the islands of Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Bali. Coffee arrived in Latin America several decades later, when the French brought a cutting of a coffee plant to Martinique. But when a rare plant disease spread through the coffee fields of Southeast Asia in the mid 19th century, Brazil emerged as the world's foremost coffee producer, an honor the country still holds today.

Allergy Answer

My allergies are flaring up again! So I wondered what was blooming that was causing me this misery. My hairdresser said "thistle". I didn't know I was allergic to that but okay. The Atlanta Allergy Clinic says "grass, hickory, and English Plantain". What the heck is "English Plantain" you ask. Well, I wondered that too. Here it is:

Now we know. If you see this strange plant beware!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Moving On

Yesterday was my last day at Jefferson. I've been there for 8 years. During that time I've met some wonderful people and made lots of great friendships. I don't think it has really set in yet. There were lots of teary eyed people hugging me and saying good-bye. I reminded several of them I would see them Saturday at the wedding of one of our co-workers. It's more like spring break...just a few days off and then I'll see you again. I'm sure it will sink in at some point and I'll have a wave of emotions. Right now I'm enjoying my summer. I have 2 weeks of training in July so I'm trying to schedule my trips in June. I slept in and laid by the pool today. I love being a teacher and getting summer break!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sign that makes you go..."WHAT?!?"

This one was on the crummy church signs blog. Obviously some people just don't get it!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Editor

My last post was about the book (well, one of the books) I am currently reading. The first chapter talks about the need for an editor in your life. Nathan was David's editor. He spoke the truth in love to David when he saw him falter. Your Nathan will 1) get under your skin 2) ask questions 3)tell the truth.
Most of us think of this person as accountablity. The author prefers "editability" (he stole the term from another author). Editors call out the things that need to be changed to make you the best you can be.
I have 3 people in my life that I call "all access" people. They are the people that I trust to ask the hard questions and expect an answer. They get to speak into my life when they see good or bad. They know me. I trust that they are looking out for my good no matter how uncomfortable they make me. They are the ones I have to have the hard conversations with so that I can be better. The beauty of it is that they understand they have rights and power to speak into my life and they don't take it lightly. These people are SO important to my life and helping me in my walk.

I won't write about every chapter from the book but I thought this was good and important to share.

So "Who's your editor?". If you don't have one....GET ONE!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I'm reading a book called 11indespensable relationships you can't be without by Leonard Sweet. It's about building relationship with key people/personality types in order to be the best person you can be. I've only read a couple of chapters but I'll give you a run down of the 11 relationships (plus a few that didn't make the final cut).

Nathan - editor
Jonathan - a true friend
Jethro - a butt - kicker (two people at women's group said this was me!)
Timothy - a protege
Barnabas - an encourager
Peter/Paul - a yoda
Deborah - a back-coverer
Zacchaeus - a reject
Rhoda - a "little one"
VIPs - a Lydia and Lazarus, rich and poor
Jerusalem - you need a place
The invisible 12th - a paraclete

Who didn't make the final cut:
Sarah - a funny bone
Mary Magdalene - stubborn faithfulness
Abram -a sense of adventure
Issachar - a sign reader
Jacob - art of improvisation (clever
Joseph - mature wisdom
Eli - listener
Epaphras - prayer warrior

So I'm in process of reading this book and trying to see who in my life fits these categories. I think there is some good stuff there!