What I Learned – A Story of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage
I just finished with The Story of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage and thought I’d try something a little different than a straight review. Non-fiction books don’t give me characters and a plot to get into, so I’ll just try to share some of the most interesting things I read in the course of the book.
The Story of the World in 6 Glasses tells the origin, and the subsequent rise, of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and soda pop.
- All these drinks, except soda, was a status symbol during its rise.
- All, except soda, were often used as payment, in the place of money (not in addition to.)
- These drinks (INCLUDING soda) were all thought to have amazing health benefits when they were first discovered.
- The original formula for beer resulted in a lot of stuff floating on the surface. People used straws to drink from underneath the floating chaff.
- Beer originated as a communal drink because they didn’t have pottery when it was first discovered. No cups. You and your buddies had to drink it right out of whatever vat it was mixed in.
- The original wine vintages were lower quality than the cheapest, crappiest wine we have today.
- At around 15% alcohol, the elements that cause fermentation can no longer survive, making 15% the max alcoholic content without distillation.
- Coffee originated in Arabia (might be common knowledge, but not to my dumb ass!)
- Coffee only became a world-wide thing when people stole coffee plants and planted them closer to home.
- The term ‘ancient Chinese secret’ is thrown around a lot, but that’s how tea started.
- Its main ingredients came from the ‘Coca’ plant and the ‘Cola’ plant.
- Also made from the Coca plant… cocaine.
This is just a single serving (see what I did there) of the interesting stuff in this book. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re more interested in the world history side of it. It’s really just about the drink history with a few names and dates dropped in.