Project title: “The Satan’s Drink”, a Turkish coffee ceremony in the Oude Kerk Amsterdam
April-May 2015

The Oude Kerk (Old Church) of Amsterdam was a meeting point for citizens and merchants where they could exchange thoughts and wander during organ concerts in 17th century. Various functions made this church “the living room of Amsterdam”. Around the same time In 1616, Pieter van den Broecke, a Dutch merchant obtained some of the closely guarded coffee bushes from Mocha, Yemen and brought them with him to Amsterdam. He planted them in the Amsterdam botanical gardens where they began to thrive, which 40 years later became the numerous healthy Coffea arabica bushes and ended up in Sri Lanka which had a major impact in the trade route of coffee.

The coffee ceremony together with fortune telling practise was held in the old library of the church to talk about its history and contradiction to religious practices. It is called the “Satan’s Drink” because it was considered to be “the bitter invention of Satan to catch Christian souls” since it was the antithesis of wine (which in Eucharist is Christ´s blood) and it was drank by Arabs, Turks and other non-christians. It was also baptised by Pope Clement VIII before being accepted in Europe.

By using the historical background and the rituals carried by its roots in middle-eastern cultures, a fortune telling ceremony was organised along with the coffee ceremony to be religiously contradictory in contemporary society.

 
 
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