A History of Coffee

A History of Coffee

A History of Coffee is the story of how a tiny psychoactive seed changed the world and shapes our lives today. Across six episodes, documentary maker James Harper and professional historian Jonathan Morris narrate how humans race coffee across oceans to keep up with demand for this addictive drink. Coffee creates enormous fortunes for some, and misery for others. Sometimes the environment benefits, but more often it is plundered. If we want to make coffee a more equitable industry that’s also kinder to the environment, a place to start is understanding the stories and systems that put the coffee into your cup this morning. Press the Subscribe button so you don’t miss future episodes! Follow Jonathan Morris @coffeehistoryjm and James Harper @filterstoriespodcast. Read full transcripts at www.historyofcoffee.org.

Episodes

April 17, 2023 44 mins
America is coffee-obsessed. From Central Perk’s red couch being the centre of major plot twists in Friends to the fact the average American drank more than two cups a day.

And the conventional explanation is pretty straightforward: an English colonist introduces coffee to Jamestown in 1607. 150 years later Americans rebel against the British by throwing tea chests into Boston harbour and drinking coffee becomes their patriotic duty....
Mark as Played
One morning back in the ‘80s, Howard Schultz walks out of his Milan hotel, stumbles into an espresso bar, and fundamentally changes coffee history.

He discovered (and then popularises) the iconic, timeless Italian coffee experience: Rich thick coffee, an affordable price and great theatre.

But this Italian ritual is surprisingly young, so young that Howard Schultz was in school while some of it was being developed!

In this third epi...
Mark as Played
Haiti was once the biggest, most profitable coffee growing region in the world.

But today Haiti is one of the world’s poorest nations where you can’t get a bag of Haitian beans delivered to Berlin in a week for love nor money.

In this second episode of Series Two of A History of Coffee, we show you how colonialism and racism dragged Haiti into poverty, and the role of coffee at the centre of it.

Be warned: this episode contains grap...
Mark as Played
A coffee shop is a lot more than just a place to drink coffee. The seats and sofas encourage you to invite a friend, and chat.

And chatting is powerful: ideas that emerge from these caffeine-fuelled conversations give birth to modern finance and even the founding of great artistic and scientific institutions.

Meanwhile, other ideas threaten those in power, and have led to many attempts to ban coffeeshops (and even coffee itself!) the...
Mark as Played
We're back with more stories about the tiny psychoactive seed that changed the world and continues to shape our lives today.

In Series Two, we reveal how the invention of the coffee shop revolutionised societies, why colonialism, racism and coffee have kept once prosperous Haiti poor today, how Italy's revered espresso culture was created, and we debunk many myths around America's supposed love affair with coffee.

If we want to make ...
Mark as Played
May 31, 2022 45 mins
We have an exciting announcement....AND, a story about Sri Lanka and coffee history we think you're really going to like.

Sri Lankan coffee has delicious notes of chocolate and caramel. But it’s basically impossible to find, and we’re going to bet you’ve never drank it.

But that's really odd, because Sri Lanka has the perfect climate to grow coffee, and was once one of the biggest coffee growing countries in the world.

But Sri Lank...
Mark as Played
February 15, 2022 28 mins
Coffee has a fascinating history stretching back hundreds of years. But tea takes it to the next level, stretching back thousands.

And it too was colonised by Europeans with huge repercussions that we are still feeling today.

We hope you enjoy episode 11 from the excellent The Tea History podcast: Europeans Discover Tea, produced by Laszlo Montgomery.

Listen to the rest of The Tea History Podcast: https://bit.ly/3BnDjgr

Explore Laszl...
Mark as Played
June 22, 2021 48 mins
Each sip of coffee we drink is steeped in dark colonial past.

The reason we can enjoy it every morning is because it's relatively cheap, and many people suffered under European colonisers to create systems that produced this cheap coffee.

But unfortunately, that's just the beginning. Colonialism has stripped enslaved and indigenous people of their language, pushed their descendants into work that a modern European would never do, a...
Mark as Played
We are hard at work on the bonus episode about decolonising coffee history.

But...in the meantime, here's an episode from a sister podcast we think you'll enjoy.

You can listen to more episodes from Adventures in Coffee here: https://bit.ly/300V4jS
Mark as Played
May 13, 2021 47 mins
Do you grind your beans fresh before brewing your coffee? If so, you are helping overturn a race-to–the-bottom with deep roots in colonial extraction that today is leaving millions of coffee farmers impoverished.

Or, at least, that’s what many specialty coffee companies would like you to believe. The truth is a lot less rosy.

In this final episode of A History of Coffee, Jonathan and James explore where the specialty coffee movement...
Mark as Played
April 23, 2021 37 mins
When was the last time you bought a coffee that was Fairtrade certified?

Certifications make it easy for consumers to put their ethics into practice. But, hidden beneath the glossy sticker is a maze of complications and paradoxical outcomes.

In this fifth episode of A History of Coffee, Jonathan and James explore where coffee certifications came from, how they tried to stop coffee’s devastating race to the bottom and assess whether ...
Mark as Played
March 11, 2021 36 mins
How do you drink your instant coffee? If you’re like most of the world, you fill your mug with milk and sugar to sweeten the taste.

By adding milk and sugar to your instant, you helped bring new growers - and consumers - into coffee, but arguably contributed to a crisis that left hundreds of thousands of people malnourished.

In this fourth episode of A History of Coffee, Jonathan and James explore how the popularity of instant cof...
Mark as Played
March 2, 2021 40 mins
A hundred years ago one Brazilian man owned so many coffee trees he could fill every inch of a European country with them.

But why does Brazil grow so much? And who is drinking these lakes of caffeine?

In this third episode of A History of Coffee, Jonathan and James explore how industrialisation dramatically and permanently strips away Brazil’s forests, and why coffee becomes a part of the American dream.

A History of Coffee is a col...
Mark as Played
February 17, 2021 42 mins
Why do we get upset when we’re charged €36 for an ordinary cappuccino?

The answer flies us to the Caribbean where white Europeans make black Africans suffer.

In this second episode of A History of Coffee, we uncover how colonialism squeezes the price of coffee, and how that changes European culture forever.

A History of Coffee is a collaboration between James Harper of the Filter Stories - Coffee Documentaries podcast and Jonathan M...
Mark as Played
Here’s a surprising fact: coffee was only invented around the time Michelangelo was chiselling his statue of David.

Why did it take so long for humans to invent the cup of coffee?

In this first episode of A History of Coffee, Jonathan and James unpack how humans figured out that delicious flavours were contained in the roasted seeds of a coffee tree’s cherries.

The answer has nothing to do with dancing goats...but, in some ways, it h...
Mark as Played
February 15, 2021 4 mins
A History of Coffee is the story of how a tiny psychoactive seed changed the world and shapes our lives today.

Across six episodes, documentary maker James Harper and professional historian Jonathan Morris narrate how humans race coffee across oceans to keep up with demand for this addictive drink.

Coffee creates enormous fortunes for some, and misery for others. Sometimes the environment benefits, but more often it is plundered.

I...
Mark as Played

Popular Podcasts

    Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

    2. Amy and T.J. Podcast

    "Amy and T.J." is hosted by renowned television news anchors Amy Robach and T. J. Holmes. Hosts and executive producers Robach and Holmes are a formidable broadcasting team with decades of experience delivering headline news and captivating viewers nationwide. Now, the duo will get behind the microphone to explore meaningful conversations about current events, pop culture and everything in between. Nothing is off limits. “Amy & T.J.” is guaranteed to be informative, entertaining and above all, authentic. It marks the first time Robach and Holmes speak publicly since their own names became a part of the headlines. Follow @ajrobach, and @officialtjholmes on Instagram for updates.

    3. The Dan Bongino Show

    He’s a former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer, and New York Times best-selling author. Join Dan Bongino each weekday as he tackles the hottest political issues, debunking both liberal and Republican establishment rhetoric.

    4. The Bobby Bones Show

    Listen to 'The Bobby Bones Show' by downloading the daily full replay.

    5. Stuff You Should Know

    If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

Advertise With Us
Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

Connect

© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.