Posts tagged #Coffee

How Coffee Helped Invent the Modern Internet

Today is National Coffee Appreciation Day in the U.S. And less you think this is only a recent marketing promotion, it’s a little known story that coffee, yes coffee, helped create the Internet.

And that’s something we can all celebrate for who in the Industry could get through the day without Internet and its many applications.

Here are the little known details of how coffee promoted the existence of the Internet. Back in 1991, some of Britain’s brightest minds were working at Cambridge University searching out the early secrets of the computer computations.

Their work there was a natural extension of the initial discoveries done at the nearby Bletchley Park where, during World War II, English scientists developed the first computer prototypes to decode the secret messages sent by Germany on their Enigma and Lorenz machines.

The scientists gathered at Cambridge eagerly continued their work, but their physical setting was not as grand as that of Bletchley Park.

The seven story building that served as their research center had no elevator and, to make matters worse, ONE coffee pot for the WHOLE building.

Since scientists as a group drink more coffee during the day than any other professional group, this was a huge problem.  Each scientist there experienced going for a cup of hopefully-inspiring coffee only to find, after going down several flights of stairs, that the lone coffee pot on the first floor was empty!

They solved this problem by inventing the very first webcam, which transferred a streaming image of the coffee pot to their desk computer screen.

Now every trip down to the coffee machine meant returning with a full cup! Heaven! Progress! Science! Technology!

So when chefs today work with newest cutting edge techniques today, be they Ferran or a young chef in training at the C.I.A., they are in good company with the best – starting with all those talented scientists of the 1990s at Cambridge University, who invented the webcam that we all enjoy today, just to get a cup of hot coffee! Many thanks gentlemen!

Post Note: September 30, 2010: As the Internet grew in fame, two million plus people had logged on by 2001 to view the Cambridge coffee pot. When the scientists moved to their new computer center that year, they put the legendary coffee pot up for sale on the then new website eBay. Astoundingly the coffee pot sold for 3,350 English pounds or $5224.33 US dollars to the German online firm of Speigel.  Not bad, no for an old coffee pot.

 Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2011