Finding my Muse

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Monday, the 14th of August 2017


What do Dubai, Prague, Zurich and the city of Chikmagalur in south-west India have in common? They’ve got vastly different climates, cultures, landscapes and languages but take a closer look and you’ll discover these societies share at least one passion. Coffee – and in particular, coffee museums.

The word museum stems from the word muse, meaning a force that is the source of inspiration – so let’s take a look at some of the coffee museums on offer and see if they inspire us to pay a visit.

India is one of the world’s biggest tea producers and consumers, but coffee dominates in the south.   The museum at Chikmagalur is located in the state of Karnataka, where more than 70% of India’s coffee is grown. Visitors can watch videos about the production process and study ancient presses before stepping outside to gaze and gasp at the coffee plantations covering the surrounding hillsides.

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The Coffee Museum in Prague claims to be “a tribute to the tradition of coffee culture” across the globe. It features a photography exhibition focussed on pre-war cafes and explains the history of coffee through displays of equipment used to prepare, roast, grind and serve it over the centuries.

In Dubai, staff dressed in traditional costume offer visitors a sample of traditional Turkish and Ethiopian coffee. Once you’ve had your fill of caffeine you can learn about the origins of the drink while feasting your eyes on a diverse range of grinders, roasters and coffee pots.

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The Johann Jacobs Museum in Zurich isn’t strictly a coffee museum but guides visitors through the history of global trade routes, with emphasis on coffee. It aims to “shed light on the complex network of ties that characterises our globalised world”. It is named after the founder of a successful coffee empire established in the 19th century and is run by his great nephew.

And if you’re unlikely to visit any of those cities anytime soon, fear not! Look up and you’ll discover what claims to be “the first, innovative, contemporary, digital museum of coffee” ever created. The website features permanent and temporary exhibitions which tell the story of coffee people as well as the bean itself. It features an impressive collection of articles, photographs and videos and also encourages coffee lovers to connect and interact online.

And once you’ve had your fill of history, fill up your cup. For me, coffee is the greatest muse of all.