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This popular drink was once banned and called the ‘Satan’s drink’

For coffee lovers out there, one cannot imagine starting your day without coffee.

However, do you know that coffee was once banned by the Catholic Church as well as the Ottoman Empire?

Pope Clement VIII and his first cup of ‘Satan’s drink’

It is believed that coffee arrived in Italy in the second half of the 16th century through the commercial routes of the Mediterranean Sea.

When it was first introduced to the Vatican, a number of Catholic Church clergy strongly believed that the drink would do nothing but corrupt the congregation.

Some called the beverage Satan’s drink or the bitter invention of Satan.

The reason behind this opposition against coffee was mainly because the beans were brought over by Muslim merchants with whom Christians had been at war for centuries.

The priests then pressured the then Pope Clement VIII to officially denounce the drink.

However, after tasting coffee, the pope was rumoured to have said, “Why, this Satan’s drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it.”

With that, Pope Clement continued to bless coffee beans, declaring that Catholics around the world can drink coffee freely.

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Photo by Pixabay.

Drinking coffee was punishable by death during the Ottoman Empire

Christianity was not the only religion that had a problem with coffee.

Due to its stimulating effect, coffee was forbidden in Mecca in 1511. Then, the ban was overturned when a fatwa was issued allowing the consumption of coffee in 1524.

Fast forward to 1633, the Ottoman Empire’s Sultan Murad IV decided to execute those who were seen drinking coffee in Istanbul.

Actually, he was not against coffee per se. The sultan nevertheless, believed that coffeehouses in Istanbul were the place where seditious plots started.

The leader of the Ottoman Empire even took his hatred for coffee drinking a little step further.

Murad would disguise himself as a commoner and roam the streets of Istanbul with his broadsword.

The moment he came across a coffee drinker, the sultan swung his sword to decapitate him while the poor man was enjoying his drink.

When King Charles II tries to outlaw coffee

If you think Murad IV was absurd and ridiculous for banning coffee just because he did not want his subjects to ‘gossip’ about him at the coffeehouse, he was not alone.

In England, King Charles II attempted to shut down all coffeehouses in 1675.

He claimed that coffee houses “have produced very evil and dangerous effects” as well as “disturbance of the peace and quiet realm”.

The truth is that the king traced some seditious poetry written about him to coffeehouses.

Charles later learned however, that it was best to leave coffee drinkers alone with their favourite drink.

It took only 11 days for Charles to reverse his ban because the backlash was simply throne-shaking.

Today, can we take a moment and be grateful that we can drink our coffee without losing our heads?

Your complete guide to Sarawak Teh C Peng Special

If Sarawak had a national drink, that beverage would definitely be Teh C Peng Special.

A drink that you can order throughout Sarawak, it is also known as three-layer tea because of how its ingredients look in the glass before you give it a really good stir.

Basically it is a beverage made of red tea, evaporated milk and gula melaka syrup (a type of palm sugar). It is an upgraded version of Teh C Peng which is iced tea with evaporated milk.

Add on the syrup and voila it becomes ‘special’!

What is Teh C Peng Special?

Can you see the three layers in this drink?
Can you see the three layers in this drink?

The commonly known origin of this drink is 7th mile Kuching’s Fresh Food Court. To this day, visitors still flock to this food court to have a taste of the original Teh C Peng Special.

The highlight of the drink is none other than the gula melaka syrup. Gula melaka (Malacca sugar in Malay) is a type of palm sugar made from the sap of flower buds mainly from the coconut palms.

Not all palm sugars are the same as they may differ in composition. Gula melaka can be dense and sticky which is why before you drink Teh C Peng Special, you need to stir it vigorously.

You can always make your own Teh C Peng Special at home as long as you have black tea, evaporated milk and gula melaka.

You can make your own syrup by melting solid gula melaka in some water over a slow flame, or buy a bottle of Teh C Peng Special syrup easily found in most Sarawak supermarkets.

When it comes to Malaysian drinks, the alphabet ‘C’ means evaporated milk. But why the letter ‘C’? Apparently it is inspired by the first initial of the most famous brand of evaporated milk from Nestle called Carnation.

Now comes the teh or tea part: Teh C Peng Special is made of red tea.

Red tea in Malaysia or other countries such as China is actually what Western countries refer to as black tea. It is more oxidised than oolong, green and white teas.

The most common brand of tea in this country is BOH Tea, which is also the largest black tea manufacturer in Malaysia.

Teh C Peng Special makes a great thirst-quenching drink especially in hot weather.

How a Teh C Peng Special looks like after a good stir.
How a Teh C Peng Special looks like after a good stir.