While not an unreasonable question, it is one that's fairly short-lived in exploration.

Depending on your sources, the origins of coffee date as far back as the 9th century, to around 850 AD and the legend of Ethiopian goat herder Kaldi, who observed friskiness in his flock after consuming a local shrub: coffee cherries. This led to experimentation on the part of Kaldi and the rest is coffee history; at least, based on the premise of that legend. Jesus, however, scholars generally agree, is estimated to have lived between the years 6-4 BC and 30-36 AD, pre-dating that happy discovery, thus making it unlikely the lips of Jesus and a clay mug of coffee ever met. But that doesn't mean a theological wit can't try to make some sort of a connection: enter Michael Svigel.

In 2004, Svigel, now Department Chair and Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, presented a paper to a regional meeting of evangelical scholars and scholar-wannabes, that, in his own words "constructed an argument for the incorporation of coffee into worship as a sacrament, appealing to biblical, theological, historical, and experiential grounds" that was also "completely illegitimate". Tongue in cheek although Svigel's thesis was  and one he jokes ended his career as a "respectable" theologian  his paper was, nevertheless, loads of fun.

So, did Jesus drink coffee? No, says Svigel. In his discussion of coffee as a means of grace  the things through which God is said to give grace, such as blessings or conversion — Jesus, Svigel argues, is already "the spiritual source of that grace" and is for that reason excluded. Other exclusions, he says, include everyone who is not a confirmed believer in God, which "demonstrates that coffee ought to be regarded sacramentally."

Why is coffee on the biblical table at all? Svigel argues there are a number of references to coffee in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, the verses Isaiah 51 and 52 exalt the reader to "Awake! Awake!" and "Put on strength!", which is developed further in 51:17 with a reference to "trembling" and "draining".

According to Svigel, various passages seem to suggest it is God's will to be alert and that the command to drink "at the hand of the Lord, the cup ... of trembling"  and so on  highlights the means by which people should awaken: through the downing of a beverage received with "thanksgiving," which translates to ejucaristiva (eucharistia) in Greek. Since the "eucharist" is a sacramental term in theology, writes Svigel, "the beverage referred to is obviously regarded as a sacrament." He concludes:

In sum, God's will is for people to be awake and alert, not groggy and tired. The means which He provides for bringing about His will in the lives of His people seems to be the beverage that causes trembling. That is, coffee is seen here as the means of grace for accomplishing His divine will.

The actual word "coffee" appears several times in the New Testament, claims Svigel. He references the use of the Greek word kovfino and contests the translation of kovfino and kofinos to mean basket or baskets, which he argues is inaccurate. The word should have been stuvri in that case, he says. The use instead of kovfino, which "sounds a lot like our English word for coffee," is "convincing proof" of what was really meant.

In Matthew 14:20, in verse 20 (following the famed feast of fish and bread in verse 19), after eating, Svigel insists suppers "took up twelve coffees" and not baskets — given the use of kovfino in the text. Coffee makes further sense, contends Svigel, because as "everyone knows," drinking coffee after a meal is a tradition and promotes fellowship (nowhere does Svigel refer to the accepted coffee timeline of Kaldi and his goats). He goes on:

When one factors in coffee as a means of waking up the believer and then keeping him or her alert, all of the practical problems with rising early and seeking the Lord are solved. Coffee has a very positive effect on the prayer life of the believer. In some cases, it is indispensable.

What about hymns extolling the virtues of coffee? There are none but, maintains Svigel (and others), Lutheran composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, did come "extremely close" in an Aria of Lieschen in Bach's famous "Kaffeekantate" first performed in Leipzig, Germany, sometime between 1732 and 1735. Be sure, to listen for yourself (exclamations of "coffee! coffee!" are very clear in parts). Translations and interpretations of the libretto vary. The following was printed by Discover Magazine and is among the most delightful this author has come across, in part because it compares coffee deprivation to shriveled goat meat — perhaps a reference to Kaldi's original inspiration: 

Father, don’t be so severe! / If I can’t drink / My bowl of coffee three times daily / Then in my torment I will shrivel up / Like a piece of roast goat.

First published March 24, 2016

The continuing stew over a study last year that found millennials were having less sex than previous generations did at the same age, may leave some feeling ever more pressure this Valentine's Day. Now seems like a good time to suggest a coffee date instead.




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Christmas is nearly upon us and, once again, you're here at our online store, thinking: "Can I give them coffee two years in a row? Who else can I give coffee to? Is coffee really all that of a gift?"

First of all, coffee is the best gift anyone has ever given or received, so no fear there. And, yes; you can give coffee to everyone you know who favours it but it is preferable to not repeat yourself from one year to the next.

But don't worry. At Green Beanery, we're more than just coffee: we're also coffee equipment and coffee accessories, as well as a number of other things entirely unrelated to coffee, which is all to your good at this crunch time of year. So put away your panic. We've got you covered and covered well, my dears.

Please step this way, and let's begin.

If you're ordering online, the best thing you can do at this point, to ensure timely delivery, is a gift card. We've got scads of electronic gift cards, including Christmas and Hanukkah cards, as well as gift cards that will do nicely for sending best wishes for the New Year's. Make a jump start on other occasions too with our Chinese New Year's and back-to-school selection, and, for those brave enough to be moving house in winter, give them our housewarming and coffee-to-the-rescue gift card options.

If you're able to order online and pick-up in-store, here are some ideas that are sure to please. A number-one pleaser would have to be the Aerobie AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker. To be sure, it's an odd, rather plain-looking gob of plastic (that is BPA and phthalates free, mind, and made of food-safe copolyester), but, nevertheless a gob of plastic few will comprehend the wonder of based on looks alone. Yet, a wonder the AeroPress is, day in and day out, no exaggeration. This will change your morning coffee routine forever - it's fast, it couldn't be easier to clean, it's versatile, durable and the coffee is so damn good; for $39.95, this little cracker will make you believe in the magic of Christmas again. True story: I gave this to someone, very fussy, last February and they're still, nearly a year later, telling me how much joy it brings them and I have to admit: I may never top a gift like the AeroPress.

It's hard to make something as thrillingly simple as the Aeropress better but they did by ensuring you need never be without it with the AeroPress Coffee Travel Kit, which is basically the Aeropress and a tote bag, and for more dollars, includes a Hario mini hand-grinder. Camping, cottages, conferences, hotels, work ... regardless of your location, the Aeropress is good to go.

With all the palaver about artisanal Third Wave coffeehouse culture, it's hard not to feel swayed by all the frou-frou and crave some of that cool cafe chic for yourself at home. Certainly, for coffee lovers, some of these accoutrements make for lovely and useful gift ideas. One such item is the Hario Buono Stainless Steel Kettle - with its sleek beehive design and gooseneck spout, the Buono is beloved by serious baristas and home-users alike for its reliable, precision pour and is something of a must-have for anyone attempting the pour-over method of coffee brewing. Take it up a notch with the Bonavita 1.0L Digital Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle BV382510V - the extra finger grip and steady water stream is a real bonus for the novice to pour-over and the 60-minute heat-and-hold and real-time temperature display works beautifully for any hot beverage.

Like the Hario kettle, the Chemex pourover coffeemaker is another timeless statement piece that is both lovely to look at and lovely to use, and easy on the wallet. The classic Chemex has been restored to a place of adulation by third wave coffee connoisseurs for its function and beauty: so iconic is its hourglass design fastened with a wood collar and tie, it remains on permanent display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Choose your size preference from our selection here. For the coffee lover who has everything, you might want to consider the divine Chemex Hand Blown Glass Stovetop Water Kettle or, better still, the mouthwatering Chemex Ottomatic Coffee Brewer, which unbelievably automates the entire art of pour over without the bother.

Keeping with a more lavish theme, the ROK espresso maker is a uniquely graceful design that is sure to win a gasp once opened (check out the neat-o reusable metal container it comes in). Described as an "AeroPress on steroids," the ROK (in a different incarnation, known as the Presso) is touted as one of the best espresso makers for under $500 - it also comes in black, red and copper (which is the one I want, Santa). A "Green Heroes" design winner, it doesn't use electricity either, so it's eco-friendly to boot. But it does require hand power and a good grinder for optimal success, which is why they made the companion ROK manual coffee grinder - a looker like the espresso maker, that takes less than half the revolutions of a standard manual grinder and around only 30 seconds to grind a double espresso, the same time as it would using an electric model.

Another coffee grinder that has been making waves for us this year is the Baratza Sette 270. The coffee geeks in your life will love this one - awarded the 2016 Best New Product by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the Sette 270 has been getting "game-changer" raves all over and the raves are deserved: expect superior speed (this is a burr grinder that moves fast) with an excellent, even grind and speeds of 3.5g/sec for espresso and 5.5g/sec for filter coffee, a light body at 7 lbs, nearly zero grinds retention and easy clean-up. One reviewer compared the release of this model to Apple unveiling their newest iPhone. It's that big of a deal.

For something a lot more budget friendly, the reusable KeepCup makes for a very thoughtful present for both the environment and someone who loves their brew with a pop of colour. At our store on the corner of Bathurst and Bloor, we keep a range of these cups on display, as well as gift sets ready made-up with coffee or tea and an assortment of little delights that make for attractive stocking stuffers. Stop by for a browse and take a moment to retreat from the madness with a treat from the menu and a seat beside our Christmas tree.

Because the weather outside is frightful

But our store is so delightful

And since you hate going out in the storm

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow