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The Devil’s Cup by Stewart Lee Allen

The Devil's Cup by Stewart Lee AllenOver the summer I’ve been doing a lot of reading and not very much writing (not in this blog anyway — my day job still keeps me busy), so I’m now taking the time to sit down and update on the pages my nose has been stuck in.

‘The Devil’s Cup’ is Stewart Lee Allen’s journey into the history of coffee, from it’s beginnings in Ethiopia, through the Middle East and eventually filtering through Europe and the rest of the western world. I was sold on this author’s integrity when he travelled two hours from Harrar to Jiga-Jiga for a cup of coffee, even after warnings from locals not to go for fear for his life. Sounded extreme… and like something I would do.

Admittedly, this wasn’t quite the page turner I was anticipating — I did struggle through many of the chapters which leant to boredom of Allen’s own personal journey on his travels to find out about coffee, however the history was interesting.

I think my favourite story was when he tells a story he heard about when the Ottoman’s ruled, ‘…a woman could get a divorce from her husband if he failed to provide her with enough coffee beans for her needs.’

This, of course, was the part I choose to read out to the man in my life — I don’t think he bought it though.