We are fortunate to live in a coffee-friendly world these days, but things have not always been that way. Throughout history and across different cultures coffee has been a meeting point for politics, economics, and societal expectations. This meeting point is a quite interesting place as it is where we get to see what people from the past thought of coffee and how they related to it.
This list compiles laws that nowadays we would consider bizarre, but to rulers of these times and places, the laws made sense. Most of them revolve around roasting, growing, and policies around where and when coffee should be served. Things the modern lawyer is not hyper-concerned about.
On the other hand, some of these laws are currently in effect in America, so pay attention to this list or you may face the law.
- In 17th century Venice, it was illegal to serve coffee to anyone who wasn't a noble.
- In St. Louis, Missouri, it is illegal to drive while wearing a bathrobe, including if the bathrobe is being used to hold a cup of coffee.
- In Alabama, it's illegal to serve coffee after 10:45 PM in a cafeteria.
- In the Ottoman Empire, it was forbidden for anyone other than the Sultan's personal coffee maker to roast coffee beans.
- In Bordeaux, France, coffee cups must have a minimum size in order to ensure that the coffee is strong and of high quality.
- In Germany, it is illegal to serve coffee with alcohol after 8 PM.
- In 1675, English coffeehouses were required to obtain a license, and some laws prohibited women from entering them.
- In Vermont, it is illegal to dye coffee.
- In ancient Ethiopia, it was illegal to roast coffee beans.
- In Louisiana, it is illegal to serve coffee in a drive-thru window after 10 PM.
- In the 20th century in France, it was illegal to serve coffee after 11 PM in order to encourage people to sleep.
- In Greece, it is illegal to make coffee on a stove or hotplate in a public place.
- In 17th century Sweden, drinking coffee was banned, and violators could be punished by having their coffee beans burned in front of them.
- In Switzerland, it is illegal to boil coffee in a kettle that has not been cleaned properly.
- In California, it is illegal to serve coffee in a hospital waiting room between the hours of 6 PM and 6 AM.
- In 19th century Saudi Arabia, it was illegal to grow coffee trees and coffee beans had to be imported.
- In North Carolina, it is illegal to serve coffee after 6 PM unless it's decaffeinated.
- In Mesquite, Texas, it is illegal to take more than three sips of coffee while standing.
- In Italy, it is illegal to make coffee with anything other than spring water.