The Devil's Cup by Stewart Lee Allen is a great read for any coffee nut who's ever wondered about the origins of the great bean, it's history, and the role it may have played in shaping what we now think of as Western Civilization.

Allen, always a journalist and sometimes indulging in other trades, such as amateur art smuggling or grave digging, (he also worked at Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying in Calcutta) travels through Northeast Africa, the Middle East, India, Europe, and the United States.

Along the way, Allen visits places relevant to the history of coffee like the port of Al-Makkha. He writes about such oddities as the advent of insurance, which took place in a London coffeehouse, called Lloyd's of London, incidentally now one of the largest and the oldest insurance company in the world.

Allen's manic-depressive adventures are interspersed with caffeinated nuggets of wisdom and amusing, edifying anecdotes that will tell you more about the magic brown beverage than you ever thought you wanted to know.

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