Peace on earth… through coffee

by Nov 9, 2007

According to this Mental Floss article, coffee cravings in the South played a small but important role in ending the Civil War. My caffeine addiction has finally been redeemed.

For the most part, Southerners had to rely on coffee substitutes, including various forms of roasted corn, rye, okra seeds, sweet potatoes, acorns, and peanuts. Unfortunately, all these imitations lacked potency, tasted awful, and upset the bowels.

The only slightly better alternative was tea made from the leaves of the native yaupon shrub. The good news was that it contained caffeine; the bad news was that it was incredibly difficult to digest.

Luckily, there was one surefire way for Southern folk to get their coffee — by making peace with the Union. Soldiers on the front lines often called informal truces so Rebels could swap tobacco for Yankee coffee and then dash back to their camps before they were reported missing.