You’ve heard of a ‘god shot’ — a cup of coffee so delicious, so fortuitous, it opens up the very heavens. Perhaps you even read “God In A Cup“, author Michaele Weissman’s seminal 2008 account of the early days of third wave coffee, and the messianic fervor with which its first crop of founders pursued a new expression for an ancient beverage.
But the history of coffee and religion go back millennia, to the indigenous religion of Waaqeffanna, still practiced by some Oromo peoples in the traditional coffee growing region of Ethiopia. Our earliest written histories of coffee date back to the Sufi mystics, and the drink can be found intertwining across Abrahamic faiths around the world in dazzling, rhapsodic ways.
In an original and essential feature for Sprudge Special Projects, journalist Valorie Clark presents a closer look at the unexpected history of coffee, religion and faith. From a Pope who tried to ban coffee outright to the modern phenomenon of the evangelical coffee shop, coffee and religion go together like, well, faith and the human condition.
Special Projects Desk is a hub for long-form original journalism and select archival features on Sprudge. Since 2009, Sprudge has been the world’s premier home for thought-provoking coffee journalism, evocative photo essays, design deep-dives, and cultural narratives. Special Projects Desk continues this tradition in 2023 and beyond, platforming exceptional works from the field of coffee journalism.
Special Projects Desk is supported by La Marzocco, handcrafting espresso machines in Florence, Italy since 1927. Their mission is to support the growth of specialty coffee; they believe that increasing knowledge and understanding is the best way to develop a thriving future for the coffee industry.
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