Posted in Kafevend Blog
Surely there isn't a kitchen cupboard or cafe table in the UK that is missing salt and pepper pots- their exclusion would stick out as much as a sticky out-y thing. Black pepper's use as a spice in cooking can be traced back 2000 years ago to India, but its use by humans can be followed back further still to Ancient Egypt, where it played a part in the process of mummification. Literary evidence of pepper exists thanks to Pliny the Elder. He complained that India drained Rome's coffers of several millions of denarii for pepper, on which he remarked "its only desirable quality being a certain pungency"- I get the feeling he wasn't a fan. Black pepper is now the most widely traded spice on the globe, with Vietnam as the top producer of pepper, and India coming in second.
It comes as no surprise to me that pepper has found its way into people's cups of tea and coffee. Regarding tea, you are most likely to find pepper included amongst the myriad of spices used to make masala chai. Its use in coffee seems more interesting however, as we delve the murky depths of medicinal properties. For those suffering from blocked sinuses, adding a helping of pepper to your coffee may help to relieve the congestion. Whilst I'm often a little critical of some of the medical properties of various plants, this one definitely seems plausible, given the kick of heat from pepper-it's an easier method than ordering a curry!