When science fiction books depict people living in the distant future, where's the coffee? Tor.Com's Jo Walton wants to know. She lists some of the hilarious words authors use instead of coffee, including Anne McCaffrey's "klah" and Steven Brust's "klava."
Even C.J. Cherryh in the Chanur books does this. They drink gfi. Gfi! To make it worse, they also drink tea, because tea is somehow a value-neutral word. There's a scene where the hani and the stsho exchange crates of tea as part of a bargain, but then they go back to the ship and drink gfi. I wonder what that is!
As she points out, people in the future aren't likely to give up coffee — not without a fight anyway. And coffee's been around since at least the 17th century, and was enough of a fixture that you get delightful things like this:
But Europeans didn't have it in the Middle Ages, although the Ethiopians did. So "if you're going to have coffee, perhaps your fantasy world ought to be more manic and caffeinated than the real middle ages." Which sounds like an alternate history fantasy I'd love to read! Top image from Shannon Wheeler's Too Much Coffee Man Opera: The Refill [Tor.Com]