The Moya View

Taking Orders at the Caffe Florian

For Goethe, a Decafe to help him dream.

For Lord Byron, a claret in his Abbott skull mug,
spiced with a tuff of pubic hair from a girl he loved.

For Marcel Proust, a Corcellett with milk, a croissant
brought to him at the brisk ring of his bell.

For Charles Dickens, espresso shots, next to
notes on Great Expectations and Little Nell.

All patrons of that aged dream, Caffe Florian.

The Caffe Florian is the oldest coffee house in the world.  It’s famous patrons included Goethe, Lord Byron, Marcel Proust and Charles Dickens.

Goethe was an enthusiastic coffee drinker. Goethe was interested in decaffeinated coffee to reduce his insomnia. His friend, Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, was able to isolate relatively pure caffeine from coffee beans in 1820.

One day, a gardener found an intact skull buried in grounds of the decommissioned abbey the Byrons called their ancestral home. As such, Byron assumed it once belonged "to some jolly friar or monk" and, treating it with all solemnity and respect an English gentleman can muster, Lord Byron had the skull turned it into a goblet so he could drink claret from its silver-rimmed cranium like a Cambridge-educated Conan the Barbarian. He was an avid collector of women’s pubic hair.

The coffee making was a delicate art in the Proust household. In her memoir, Céleste Albaret, Marcel Proust’s trusted housekeeper, explained how she was initiated to the intricate coffee ritual.
Proust’s coffee had to be ready the moment he rang for it. It had to be brought to him in bed, while he read the paper and before he began his work, together with a pot of hot milk and one croissant. Any delay in its delivery was a very high offense.
Marcel Proust would not drink any other kind of coffee than CORCELLET.

In Dinner with Dickens by British food historian Pen Vogler, offers a whimsical but rather interesting theory about the Victorian author's various characters' moral fiber based on their preference for tea. According to her, the good guys prefer tea while the dodgier ones plot and scheme over coffee.


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