Thursday, 30 August 2012

Coffee Break

I have been very busy at the PC this week, transcribing some audio files. It is hard work, and I have been very disciplined about taking regular breaks – usually to go to the kitchen and refill my coffee mug. When in Belfast, Bob spotted this shop – and said “Next visit, I want to go in there!” [please note Mags, he was clearly planning a return trip within hours of arriving in NI]


I was intrigued by the strapline so have checked out the Clements Coffee Shop. There are just ten outlets – all in Belfast. They take their name from Pope Clement VIII, who was around in the 1600s.

pope clement

This chap did various things, including canonising St Hyacinth.That is the Polish guy on the left, not the Etiquette Queen on the right.


But one story maintains that this pontiff was passionate about coffee. Coffee was first documented in 1000 by the Philosopher Rhazes although some date its cultivation to 575 in Yemen. It spread to Mecca and other middle eastern areas. Since Muslims were forbidden to consume alcohol, coffee became an alternative that assisted with long nights of prayer. This association with Islam meant European Colonies initially banned coffee during its first appearances in the 1500′s. Coffee was seen as ‘an invention of Satan’ because it was drunk as an alternative to wine [considered holy, since it was used for the Eucharist] The Cardinals went to Clement seeking a papal prohibition. Upon tasting it he instead declared that,

“This devil’s drink is so delicious…we should cheat the devil by baptizing it.”

I think I would agree with Clement completely on that one [I’ll take mine strong, hot, Fairtrade, with a dash of semi-skimmed please]


  1. As a fellow caffeine addict I love this post! Jx

  2. Well I didn't know that background to coffee but I do know that my husband is a bit of a coffee snob and Clements is his favourite place in Belfast!! One of his clients in the past was a coffee company who import then roast the beans in a small unit (about halfway between Mag's house and Belfast)and supply various shops including Clements. Glad to hear you plan to visit again. Lynne

  3. Goodness, the things you learn! Also glad to hear about planned return- Clements will be top of the bill/Bob!

  4. Love the sign.

    A very interesting historical perspective. Isn't it funny that in some branches of the church, coffee is now seen as acceptable while wine is looked at askance?

    In the movie "You've Got Mail", Tom Hanks's character describes coffee as a "legal addictive stimulant". Great definition. :)


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