I’m posting on Sunday instead of Monday this week. Why? Because today (September 29) is International Coffee Day, and I thought it would be fun to celebrate by brainstorming for baby names for coffee lovers.
Here are some coffee-inspired names I’ve come up with so far…
Legend has it that an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi discovered the coffee plant during the 9th century. After watching his goats become lively after eating coffee berries, he tried the berries himself, then told some local monks about the plant. The story has inspired many coffee shop owners to name their establishments “Kaldi’s Coffee” and the like.
Another legend has it that, around the year 1600, Pope Clement VIII gave coffee his official papal approval. Coffee was new to Europe, and Catholic clerics wanted it banned because they associated it with Islam. But Clement tried it and liked it, and his thumbs-up made coffee acceptable (and, soon, very popular) in Europe.
Thousands of coffeehouses opened in England during the second half of the 17th century. During the 18th century, they came to be called Penny Universities because, for the one-penny price of cup of coffee, a person could learn a great deal from the many political, commercial and philosophical discussions going on inside. Like the Kaldi legend, this story has inspired many coffee shop owners to use the name “Penny University.”
The U.S. would have been a tea-drinking nation if not for the Boston Tea Party, which made tea drinking unpatriotic. After that historic 1773 rebellion against the King George’s tea tax, Americans switched over to coffee and never looked back. The specific location of the Tea Party was Griffin’s Wharf (which no longer exists).
French naval officer Gabriel de Clieu transported (maybe smuggled?) a single coffee plant from Louis XIV’s royal garden to the French colony of Martinique in 1720. The trip across the Atlantic was arduous, but both he and the plant arrived intact. Fifty years later, Martinique boasted over 18 million coffee plants — all progeny of Gabriel’s original.
Colonel Francisco de Melo Palheta of Brazil traveled to French Guiana in 1727, ostensibly to help settle a border dispute. He ended up obtaining coffee seedlings for Brazil (the real objective of his mission, likely) in a rather sneaky way: within a bouquet of flowers. Brazil went on to become the world’s largest coffee producer.
In the 1730s, composer Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the “Coffee Cantata,” in which a young woman, Lieschen, argues with her father about her coffee addiction. She sings lines like “Coffee, I must have coffee” while he tries to force her to break her habit. Here’s the Coffee Cantata in English. The name Lieschen is based on Lies, pronounced LEES, a diminutive of Elisabeth (the German form of Elizabeth).
What other baby names for coffee lovers can you come up with?
Update, 5/2017: How about Ariosa? It was America’s first national coffee brand.