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The Devil's Cup: A History of the World…

The Devil's Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee (1999)

by Stewart Lee Allen

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3841241,565 (3.51)16
  1. 20
    A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage (CD1am)
  2. 10
    The Empire of Tea by Alan Macfarlane (John_Vaughan)
  3. 10
    The Cacahuatl Eater: Ruminations of an Unabashed Chocolate Addict by Jonathan Ott (libron)
    libron: Ott is a boisterous and meticulous writer; this is his paean to chocolate as a food of the gods. Allen's gonzo erudition is a riot to read; this is his manifesto cum history of coffee.

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
A fun enough romp. Ping-pongs between the history of coffee consumption and the wild adventures of the author. The wild adventures do give us some pictures of places connected with coffee somehow or other. Ethiopia and Yemen, that's easy. Calcutta and Oklahoma, less easy. OK, the ping-pong ball does jump around and test the boundaries! But we do hear along the way about some key events in the history of coffee. The siege of Vienna by the Ottomans, for example. And the various attitudes about coffee along the way. It's a fun way to learn some history. ( )
  kukulaj | Jun 27, 2014 |
This book had me craving a cup of good coffee after I finished reading! While it was a bit confusing to understand at times, overall I enjoyed the coffee history mixed with travelogue misadventures and the inveterate good cheer of Allen. Definitely worth reading. ( )
  jennorthcoast | Nov 18, 2013 |
Entertaining history / travelogue of coffee. I'm entirely unsure whether to believe even half of it is true, and I'm deeply disappointed in the author's final conclusion - but then I'm a coffee snob, not a comfort drinker. Nonetheless - a very amusing read. ( )
  imyril | May 29, 2013 |
So Allen is a little off the border in terms of traditional morals and ethics, but he does have interesting insight on the cultures he visits. Aside from the usual yuppie jabs at the US (not that I think the country does everything right, but you know he uses it just because he's cool like that. And by the way, LA has been a thriving cultural center for quite awhile now, even in '99. Sorry, why is LA the but of all jokes--sorry, LA expat. here :)

It's also fun to read about international travel before 9/11. And Allen does find interesting histories to talk about and mostly he has a good sense of humor on coffee's history. ( )
  MarieAlt | Mar 31, 2013 |
The Devil's Cup is not only an ode to coffee, it is part rolicking travelogue, part sociological study that will interest coffee hounds and non-coffee drinkers alike. Author David Lee Allen traveled the route on which coffee spread across the globe, from its ancient beginings in Ethiopia to the grimy diners and glitzy Starbucks of the USA. Allen alternates between recounting his contemporary journey with its odd characters, wild adventures, and, of course, innumerable cups of joe, with the development and historical significance of coffee in each place. The historical development of coffee is surprisingly rich and Allen touches on all its aspects - religious, political, and intellectual.
The only negative aspects are that the beginning is a bit muddled, and the very origins and discovery of coffee are are not as clearly laid out as one might hope. Also, Allen displays a certain sarcasm and bias against religion in general that may leave you wondering if his facts have not been just a bit twisted.
All in all, however, The Devil's Cup is a delightful read, told in an easy style, that will leave the reader thirsting for more. ( )
2 vote audreya2 | May 20, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345441494, Paperback)

In this captivating book, Stewart Lee Allen treks three-quarters of the way around the world on a caffeinated quest to answer these profound questions: Did the advent of coffee give birth to an enlightened western civilization? Is coffee, indeed, the substance that drives history? From the cliffhanging villages of Southern Yemen, where coffee beans were first cultivated eight hundred years ago, to a cavernous coffeehouse in Calcutta, the drinking spot for two of India’s three Nobel Prize winners . . . from Parisian salons and cafés where the French Revolution was born, to the roadside diners and chain restaurants of the good ol’ U.S.A., where something resembling brown water passes for coffee, Allen wittily proves that the world was wired long before the Internet. And those who deny the power of coffee (namely tea-drinkers) do so at their own peril.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:25 -0400)

A wild ride through the history of coffee offers a humorous revisionist take on world events with this magic bean as the prime mover of everything from Napoleon's downfall to the prosperity of America.

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