In any given year, my morning involves a cup of coffee probably 325 times. And my annual consumption averages above two cups a day, maybe three. If I could manage it, every day would start with a cup of coffee and end with a beer. I truly love coffee.

And so do a lot of others. Most of the places I’ve ever worked at offer free coffee. You can’t count on it to be very good but even low quality coffee is good stuff. Our love of coffee is far from new, and a NY Times piece from this weekend details the role coffee played in the Civil War:

Soldiers drank it before marches, after marches, on patrol, during combat. In their diaries, “coffee” appears more frequently than the words “rifle,” “cannon” or “bullet.” Ragged veterans and tired nurses agreed with one diarist: “Nobody can ‘soldier’ without coffee.”
Union troops made their coffee everywhere, and with everything: with water from canteens and puddles, brackish bays and Mississippi mud, liquid their horses would not drink. They cooked it over fires of plundered fence rails, or heated mugs in scalding steam-vents on naval gunboats. When times were good, coffee accompanied beefsteaks and oysters; when they were bad it washed down raw salt-pork and maggoty hardtack. Coffee was often the last comfort troops enjoyed before entering battle, and the first sign of safety for those who survived.

The article goes on to point out that part of the success of the North came from the blockade of goods making imports difficult in the South. One of the things the South couldn’t get: coffee. The author doesn’t pretend that coffee was the reason for the North eventually winning the war, but coffee has clearly been a part of American culture for a long time.

Image: trophygeek

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categories: weakend