Kaeth, also known as coffee, was a brewed beverage made from ground beans. Considered a rare delicacy in areas north of Calimshan, kaeth was relatively common in more southerly lands, as well as in larger cities such as Athkatla, Waterdeep, and Westgate.
Kaeth was primarily produced in Maztica, the Anauroch desert, and areas to the south and east of Durpar. Around 1358 DR, it was claimed that coffee grew only in the Shining Lands of Durpar, Estagund, and Var the Golden, and coffee was the Shining Lands' most profitable export. However, coffee sold in Halruaa was said to come from Ulgarth, the land beyond Durpar, and it was said Ulgarth was where the only true coffee was grown.[note 1]
Kaeth beans were harvested from short trees in mountainous areas, then sun-dried on rocks. When dried, the beans would be stuffed into cloth sacks, then the sacks would be stacked inside wooden crates for ease of transport. The flat, sunny plains of the Shining Lands were also suitable for growing coffee and other crops.
Previously enjoyed only in southeast Faerûn, Durpari traders began large-scale export of Durpar-grown coffee around 1358 DR. Drinking coffee was just becoming popular in wider Faerûn at the time. Coffee was regularly exported from the Shining Lands by 1373 DR.
Kaeth beans originating in Maztica were typically red-brown and had a powdery quality. These were shipped across the sea, to Baldur's Gate, and typically distributed from there to Tashalar and Calimshan.
Anauran beans were smaller, harder, and nearly black. The nomadic Bedine people who cultivated the beans referred to kaeth as qahwa, and consumed most of the supply themselves. As a result, the Anauran beans were extremely uncommon outside of their native region.
The kaeth beans from beyond Durpar were larger, and were brown with a bluish hue. This variant was often referred to as Thondur's, named after the trader Thondur, who for a while had a monopoly on the kaeth trade reaching Calimshan, Tashalar, and the Vilhon Reach. This bean type was the most common in lands to the south.
In Calimshan and Tashalar, kaeth was mostly consumed pure, although sometimes with the addition of powdered roots, nuts, or ginger. In Sembia, the preferred method of consumption involved mixing kaeth with chocolate or alcohol.
In areas to the north, kaeth was mostly served in cider mugs. In southern lands, it was more commonly served in small, flared bowls known as "kavvar".
- ↑ The Shining South (1993) contradicts itself several times on whether coffee comes from Durpar or Ulgarth. Since the sourcebook is introduced by a Halruaan, and all Ulgarth's produce comes through Durpar, the discrepancy is easily explained as an in-universe error, but not easily resolved.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Ed Greenwood, The Hooded One (2005-03-06). Questions for Ed Greenwood (2005). Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2016-02-29.
- ↑ Tom Prusa (1993). The Shining South. (TSR, Inc), p. 54. ISBN 1-56076-595-X.
- ↑ Tom Prusa (1993). The Shining South. (TSR, Inc), pp. 8, back cover. ISBN 1-56076-595-X.
- ↑ Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ Tom Prusa (1993). The Shining South. (TSR, Inc), p. 60. ISBN 1-56076-595-X.
- ↑ Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 115. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.