Thursday, November 15, 2007

Coffee and the law

Red Lion ReportsOur friends at Red Lion Reports have brewed a pair of powerful posts on the connection between coffee and the law. First, Kelly Bozanic revels in caffeine (in the form of coffee and espresso drinks) as her drug of choice. And then Marie Reilly delivers this tour-de-force on the social history of coffee:
Bach and coffeeCoffee has a surprising and so far unexplored social history. About one thousand years ago, coffee from Africa crossed the Red Sea into Arabia where Muslim monks brewed it into a kind of wine used for spiritual rituals. During the 16th century, Muslim religious leaders prohibited coffee drinking as forbidden by God. But, coffee caught on and became so popular and so troubling to Muslim religious and political leaders that in the 17th century, a Turkish sultan prohibited it again for the Ottoman Empire. In 18th century Germany, the government took up regulation of the demon drink and proposed prohibition, but only for women. J.S. Bach, a noted coffee house hound, was so outraged (too much coffee?) that in 1732 he composed an operatic political screed[,] The Coffee Cantata.
To all of which, Marie concludes: "I'm thinking that we lawyers need to scrutinize the history of regulation of coffee and its implications for religious liberty and sexual equality. Seminar anyone?"

To all these questions, except perhaps Kelly Bozanic's quest for the ideal cup of coffee in State College, Pennsylvania, Agricultural Law has the answer. Some time ago, this forum proposed the very seminar that Marie recommends, based on Jim Chen, The Potable Constitution, 15 Const. Comment. 1 (1998).

I also have a suggestion regarding the social and cultural history of coffee. As Food Law Prof Blog has kindly noticed, I discussed this very issue in Around the World in Eighty Centiliters, 15 Minn. J. Int'l L. 11 (2006):
MilkThe production, marketing, and delivery of beverages are enterprises so vast that fully to comprehend [them] would require an almost universal knowledge ranging from geology, biology, chemistry and medicine to the niceties of the legislative, judicial and administrative processes of government. Queensboro Farm Prods., Inc. v. Wickard, 137 F.2d 969, 975 (2d Cir. 1943). So extensive are the legal complexities at issue that the typical North American coffee service traverses nearly the entire range of allocative and redistributive considerations within the law of trade. A simple carafe of coffee, with cream and sugar on the side, vividly illustrates the tradeoff between comparative advantage and redistributive goals in the formation of trade policies.
Coffee, tea, milk, or liquor: all law dissolves in the beverage of your choice.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Top 10 Reasons NOT To Drink Coffee

1- Coffee is a stimulator of the central nervous system that provides the adrenal with a shot and adrenal is a stress-handling hormone. Coffee also stimulates the production of cortisol, which results in heightened awareness and alertness.

2- Though coffee is not linked to cancer but it contains carcinogens and other chemicals that trigger cancer cells.

3- Due to the increase of cortisol effect, the blood vessel constricts and the heart pumps faster and thus increases the blood pressure.

4-Caffeine is very harmful for pregnant women as the liver in fetuses cannot metabolize the caffeine and so it remains in the body arousing the brain resulting in sleeplessness and irritability.

5-According to research coffee is been associated with birth defects, miscarriages, inability to conceive and sluggish sperm.

6-Many of the chemicals present in coffee can irritate the sensitive stomach lining by increasing the stomach acidity thus leading to digestive disorders.

7- Coffee reduces the quality of sleep.

8-Coffee also causes dehydration.

9-Coffee stains your teeth and causes cavities in the teeth.

10-Coffee generally stimulates the frequency of urination and thus you lose various vitamins and minerals. Caffeine reduces the calcium content in the body.

Get the real scoop on coffee at

Test your caffeine smarts with the caffeine quiz.

And if you drink decaf you wont want to miss this special free report on the Dangers of Decaf available at

11/16/2007 5:13 AM  
Blogger Marie T. Reilly said...

Jim: Thanks for the shout out for Red Lion Reports. I think your proposed seminar sounds much better than mine. Yours includes beer.

11/16/2007 7:49 AM  

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