A History of World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage

Topics: Alcoholic beverage, Coffee, Wine Pages: 9 (3123 words) Published: April 14, 2008
How Six Beverages changed the Face of the EarthThroughout history certain drinks have marked a trend that has changed the face of the earth. Each drinks including beer, wine, spirits (distilled alcohol), coffee, tea, and coca-cola have been a catalyst for the development of our society. As a result, the alcohol and the caffeine in the drinks have not only quenched our thirst through history, but have done much more than that; they have helped different cultures intertwine. Each one of them set humankind on a path towards modernity. Six beverages precisely, three alcoholic, and three caffeine marked the tendency; the first beverage to mark a trend was beer that both served as a currency and for political purposes. Later came the Greeks with a fermented grape juice, named "wine" that with the help of formal drinking parties helped diffuse ideas and thoughts. With the coming of the age of exploration and the discovery of America, raw goods and the distillation process arrived and helped the development of distilled drinks such as brandy, rum, and whiskey which were used as currency to buy slaves and became popular in North America. As alcoholism spread, other people especially professionals looked for that drink that instead of confusing the mind rather promoted clarity. Coffee, the black gift from the Arabs promoted clarity that was what professionals were looking for such a long time. However the emergence of the British Empire as a world dominion helped China's flagship drink, tea helped to open lucrative trade routes with the east. Perhaps, the most affluent of all, or at least the one single drink that reached every corner of earth is the carbonated soft beverage called Coca-Cola; Coca-Cola marked the start of the globalization period. Six drinks, six different stories that mark our world today.

Beer, the first alcoholic beverage appeared as a result of a change of lifestyle from the humans that migrated from out of Africa. Before, these people were nomads meaning that they life was based on hunting and gathering. However, starting twelve-thousand years ago, Humans in the Near East abandoned the Paleolithic lifestyle and adopted farming rather than hunting and gathering. Beer was not invented but rather discovered since it was found that cereal grain could be stored for a long time a would not be spoiled. With the introduction of beer, people no matter their social rank were able to enjoy a drink that at the time was considered a gift of god. All along the Fertile Crescent people drank beer from the same container. This was considered a mayor development because it showed that beer was both a drink that united social classes, and it was a universal symbol and friendship and hospitality since drinking from the same container through a straw meant that the one offering the drink did not intoxicate the beverage. Beer abundance and invigorating flavors convinced the consumers of making ceremonies to god, whom in their conscience gifted such drink. Beer was used in religious ceremonies, agricultural fertility rites, and funerals by the Sumerians and Egyptians.

Beer rich contents cannot be denied. Without such stimulating and rich content, beer would not have the same popularity as it has. When stored for a long period, beer starts the fermentation process. In the Neolithic period, beer was rather drunk much sooner than today's standards. Most people left it fermenting for about a week or less. As a result, the beer drank had a relatively low alcohol content but would be rich in yeast which would provide protein and vitamin, especially vitamin B. The rich contents of beer were essential for the development and survival of early civilizations since vitamin B provided the nutrients meat provided; so when there was a shortage of food, especially meat, people would opt drink beer.

Although extremely important for the development of early societies, beer is constantly associated with drunkenness and unclear thinking. Even...
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