Mr. Espresso graphic (#185) MR. ESPRESSO (Cristina Solas-Porras):

Edition of 3568 of which 125 copies are signed 1-125; 26 are signed A-Z as artist's proofs, XX copies are signed as dedication copies and three sets are signed as progressives.

April 3, 2000 14 colors 17-3/8? x 24?

Client: Mr. Espresso, Carlo DiRuocco, 696 Third Street, Oakland CA 94607. Telephone VOX (510) 287-5200 FAX (510) 287-5204

Model: Cristina Solas-Porras

1-125: Saint Hieronymus Press A-Z: Artist's own use Dedication copies: Carlo & Marie Fran?oise Di Ruocco; Luigi Di Ruocco; Laurence Di Ruocco; Giovanni Di Ruocco, Cristina Solas-Poras Progressives: One set to Carlo Di Ruocco, one set to Cristina Solas-Porras, one set to Saint Hieronymus Press.

The earliest known use of coffee as a stimulating drink was in Abyssinia, and from there the beverage spread quickly to neighboring states. Coffee attracted the first of many opponents among the Mohammedans.

The orthodox condemned the beverage as an intoxicant, which is prohibited by the Koran. Threats of Divine retribution availed nothing, however, and the habit became firmly established. With coffee came the coffee house, a public gathering place where news and views were freely exchanged.

In 1511 Khair Beg, the corrupt governor of Mecca, tried to ban coffee for fear that coffee houses might foster opposition to his rule. The sultan did not sympathize, sent word that coffee was sacred, and had thegovernor executed.

In 1600, Pope Clement VIII was urged by his advisers to consider the favorite drink of the Ottoman Empire part of the infidel threat. The Pope, however, liked it so much that he decided to "baptize" it, making it an acceptable Christian beverage.

The Grand Vizier of Constantinople shut down that city's supposedly seditious and licentious coffee houses in 1600, and imposed penalties upon anyone caught drinking coffee. For the first offence, the guards beat the perpetrator with a stick. At the second offence, the coffee drinker was to be sewn into a leather sack and dropped into the Bosphorous.

Despite these laws, "speak-easy" coffee houses proliferated. The first European coffee house (also called a caff?) was built in Venice in 1683 and named the Bottega del Caff?. The oldest surviving coffee house in Europe is Venice's Cafe Florian, founded in 1720.

A Turk opened England's first coffeehouse in Oxford in 1637. It quickly became a gathering place for students, professors and those interested in debate. The British sometimes called coffee houses "penny universities" since, for the price of a cup of coffee (one penny), you could hear the daily news, the local gossip, participate in a political debate, or listen to a learned discussion.

In 1675, Charles II of England published an edict to close down British coffeehouses on the grounds that they were centers of political agitation, his royal proclamation stating that they were the resort of disaffected persons "who devised and spread abroad divers false, malicious and scandalous reports, to the defamation of His majesty's government, and to the disturbance of the peace and quiet of the nation." Public outcry forced the King to refute his position eleven days later.

The first French cafe, called Cafe de Procope, opened in 1686. The proprietor was an Italian. By 1700 there were nearly 2000 coffee houses in London. In 1732 Johann Sebastian Bach composed his Coffee Cantata. Partly an ode to coffee and partly a stab at the movement in Germany to restrict the drinking of coffee, the cantata includes the aria, "Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than muscatel wine! I must have my coffee." The Boston Tea Party was planned in the Green Dragon Coffee House in 1773. A ration of coffee was issued to soldiers during the War Between the States and became firmly ensconced as the American national beverage.

In 1901 Luigi Bezzera patented the first restaurant espresso machine. In 1946, in Italy, Achilles Gaggia perfected the first espresso machine to use higher pressure than could be obtained with steam alone, through a spring-powered lever system.

The Beatniks of Greenwich Village and North Beach practically lived in coffee houses. Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems, was composed, in part, at a table in the Piccolo (later the Caffe Mediteranneum) on Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue.

In 1960, Faema produce the first pump-driven espresso machine. The tactics of the Civil Rights movement, the Free Speech Movement, the Anti War Movement, and People's Park were hotly debated, hammered out and organized in the coffee houses of Berkeley.

One of the main impacts of the coffeehouse is that it moved the public meeting place from the tavern, where a depressant is served, to the coffee-shop, where a stimulant is served. Hot debate occurs in both environments, but alcohol is not so conducive to organized activity afterwards.

Coffee houses and dissident politics are made for each other, it seems, which is the very thing that governments don't like about them. Governments everywhere fear and mistrust two things: the ability of citizens to speak, and their ability to fight back. Official assaults on freedom come in many guises, most notably the shielding of the citizen from real or imaginary danger. To protect the citizen from lewdness or sedition, he is deafened and silenced. To protect the citizen from physical violence, he is disarmed and weakened. In reality, the government is protecting itself from its own citizenry, so that it may devour them at its leisure

The British national preference for tea aptly demonstrates my thesis: having latterly acceded to King James' erstwhile demands, Englishmen (their tea-drinking cousins in Canada and Australia are quite nearly as wretched) have gradually surrendered what we, as Americans, think of as inalienable rights.

They do not enjoy freedom of worship, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech or of the press. They do not possess the right to keep and bear arms for either the purpose of insurrection or for self defence. They do not have the right to a trial by jury. Their government rigorously restricts the political opinions they can express, the books they can read, the motion pictures they can see and the music they can listen to. They are heavily taxed, and are encouraged in subtle, vicious ways to depend for their very sustenance upon the government's largess. Their primary diversion is civil war. They are, in short, slaves who labor under the illusion that they are free.

You do not agree? Let us discuss this over coffee.