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by Jeanette M. Fregulia

From the publisher: The history of coffee is much more than the tale of one luxury good—it is a lens through which to consider various strands of world history, from food and foodways to religion and economics and sociocultural dynamics.

A Rich and Tantalizing Brew traces the history of coffee from its cultivation and brewing first as a private pleasure in the highlands of Ethiopia and Yemen through its emergence as a sought-after public commodity served in coffeehouses first in the Muslim world, and then traveling across the Mediterranean to Italy, to other parts of Europe, and finally to India and the Americas. At each of these stops the brew gathered ardent aficionados and vocal critics, all the while reshaping patterns of socialization.

Taking its conversational tone from the chats often held over a steaming cup, A Rich and Tantalizing Brew offers a critical and entertaining look at how this bitter beverage, with a little help from the tastes that traveled with it—chocolate, tea, and sugar—has connected people to each other both within and outside of their typical circles, inspiring a new context for sharing news, conducting business affairs, and even plotting revolution.

Jeanette M. Fregulia is associate professor and chair of the Department of History at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

University of Arkansas Press, 2019

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