The 11th-century Persian scientist Avicenna, who died from an overdose of opium in 1037 (this was the first death case noted in history), was one of the first to write about coffee, although coffee was used before in Ethiopia and Arabia — countries where coffee is found in wild form. On the Arabian Peninsula, it has long been known that coffee is a plant with remarkable properties. There is even an apocryphal story about how the Prophet visited the Archangel Gabriel (Gabriel) and offered him coffee as a healing tool. The great Danish naturalist Linnaeus, who started a modern scientific taxonomy, due to the association of coffee with the Arabs, called this plant Coffea arabica.

When coffee was first brought to Europe, it was used both as a food product and as a therapeutic agent; grains rich in butter were ground to powder and mixed with fat. Later, ground coffee was mixed into the wine and brewed to get what was supposed to be a stimulating and strong refreshing drink. Pure coffee as a drink was not brewed in Europe until about 1100, and it was only in the 13th century that the modern practice of roasting beans began in Syria.

Although coffee is a plant of the Old World – and was consumed in some circles long before tea, nevertheless, it was tea that prepared the way for the popularity of coffee. The stimulating property made caffeine and theobromine – a close relative of caffeine in tea – ideal drugs for the industrial revolution: they provided a boost of energy, allowing people to continue the tedious monotonous work that requires concentration. The tea and coffee break is the only narcotic ritual that has never been prosecuted by those who profit from the state of the modern industry. Nevertheless, it is firmly established that coffee causes addiction, gastric ulcer, can worsen heart condition, cause irritability and insomnia, and in excessive doses even tremor and convulsions.

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