Coffeedoxy and Heterodoxy


Your local coffeehouse may be a hotbed of heresy. Check the following list and see how yours measures up.

  • Decaf is Docetic because it only appears to be coffee.
  • Instant is Apollinarian because it’s had its soul removed and replaced.
  • Frappuccinos are essentially a form of Monophysitism, having their coffee nature swallowed up in milkshake.
  • Chicory is Arian, not truly coffee at all but a separate creation.
  • Irish coffee is Nestorian, being two natures conjoined solely by good will.
  • Nitro coffee (coffee + Red Bull) is Montanist, having a form of godliness but denying its power.
  • Affogato is Adoptionist, being merely topped with espresso.
  • The Café Bombón is Sabellian, appearing at some points to be foam, at others coffee and at others sweetened condensed milk.
  • The Caffè Americano is a form of Unitarian Universalism, being so watered down so as not even to qualify as coffee.
  • The Café miel violates Canon 57 of the Council in Trullo, “for it is not right to offer honey and milk” in one’s coffee.
  • The Cafe Mocha (espresso + steamed milk + chocolate) is syncretic and polytheist, for it presumes to adulterate coffee with another nation’s gods.
  • The Doppio (espresso + espresso) is Monothelite, permitting only one will to dominate.
  • Half-Caf is another form of Adoptionism, being a hybrid of disparate natures.
  • The Pharisäer (drip coffee + 2 shots rum + whipped cream) is nothing but sheer Antinomianism.
  • The Red Eye (drip coffee + 1 shot espresso) is Ebionite, for it would swallow up pure faith in the Law.
  • A rigorist exclusivism for Fair Trade Coffee is a form of Donatism, insisting that only sinless hands may produce a true beverage.
  • “Coffee is bad for you”: The watchwords of the Iconoclast.
  • The fellow who just keeps adding sugar to his over-roasted Pike’s Peak[*] is surely a Pelagian.

Here endeth the caffeination. Ite, caffe est.

[*] Yes, we know the Starbuck’s brand is “Pike Place,” but we chose the common malapropism to illustrate the futility of heresy.


  1. Coffeehouse and Cafe have quite a different context, but perhaps that doesn’t translate as such in the common American English lexicon? I’m sure there are many coffeehouses that are a hotbox of heresy, as well.

  2. Among the Russian Orthodox Old Believers, there are hundreds of handwritten homilies in circulation, dating from the past 400 years, which claim that drinking coffee, smoking tobacco, and eating together with non-Orthodox people are heresies to be avoided. I theorize that this is mostly a cultural reaction against the influx of western European culture, particularly under Peter the Great. Myself an Old Believer, I have always stood by these practices, but I do have a fondness for mocha almond ice cream. 🙂 [And eating with people of other faiths is OK, as long as one doesn’t engage in mealtime prayers with them, which is the whole point of our taboo on this practice (as this would be a form of ecumenism).]

    1. Well, that’s a decidedly serious turn to this wholly unserious post. 🙂

      In any event, there does seem to be some variation of opinion on the point about mealtime prayers, and there is probably room for disagreement here, if only because “praying with heretics” in the canons refers specifically to concelebration of church services with those following formally condemned heretics. Whether that can by inference apply to someone having Thanksgiving dinner with heterodox relatives is not really mentioned in the canons.

      1. Sorry to continue with the serious turn, but some of us find it equal enjoyable to pry up the corners of our traditions and peek under them to look at their foundations more closely. 🙂

        The reason that the pre-Nikonian Russian taboos about eating with non-Orthodox, as preserved by the Old Believers, continue to be held so strongly, is because we treat meals as a formal religious service that is held in the home. When ready to begin cooking, the wife goes to her husband and bowing slightly says, “Give the blessing”, and he responds with the Jesus Prayer (in the plural). She then says the Prayer of the Publican (God, be merciful to me a sinner…. etc.) in front of the icon in the kitchen and begins to prepare the meal. Then the mealtime prayers are said, and the family eats in silence. The father says the Jesus Prayer (again in the plural) when it is time to take the first drink of fluid, a practice seen in traditional Greek monasteries. After the meal, the post-mealtime prayers are said, which are much more lengthy than in other Orthodox traditions. Only then can family members sit back down and talk, but only spiritual matters may be discussed until they leave the table. So, you can see why we draw the line so sharply about not eating “formal meals” with non-Orthodox. Of course, we can still have an informal lunch with someone else, simply Crossing ourselves before eating, and this is not considered an “act of Ecumenism”.

        Of course, coffee and carbonated drinks are rarely ever seen in traditional Old Believer households, but many of us are quite fond of tea. 🙂 (I personally am fond of pure Assam from India.)

    2. If you eat a meal with an atheist, and don’t pray…is it the same as praying with people of other faiths?

  3. Have you surrendered to the Dark Side, Fr Andrew? Robusta is used in those Italian coffees, I am reliably informed by wikipedia ,than whom there is no higher authority. So can you as an Antiochian countenance them?

      1. be at peace, Father. Bear firmly in mind that We are not eggnostic, but take our beverage free from lactic stain and the daemonic dextrose.
        “of such is the Kitchen of heaven”

  4. Should we assume that the Eggnog latte is some sort of far-reaching heresy such as Gnosticism or Manichaeism?

    1. depends on how many you buy – it could be a.-nathema; or a ‘bi-nathema’ and so forth running on down “The ladder of inane Decent” (with apologies to St.John Climacus!)

      1. oops…! should have checked my spelling : “descent’ of course, as opposed to the indecently mis-spelt word used.

  5. Fr. Andrew, you have forced me to revisit the historical theology of my earlier seminary days. I am likely a better man today for having done so.

  6. Pingback: Friday Funnies |
    1. Dear Jim, Judge not lest ye be judged! Besides, if God did not approve of decaf, he wouldn’t have provided us with the water used to extract that pesky caffeine!

  7. 🙂

    But my goodness, you E.O.s are bigger ‘theology geeks’ than even us Calvinists.

  8. Americanos are actually the most Orthodox of all. It is the perfect mixture of the water and the blood. To deny the Americano is to deny the very humanity of Christ. Look it up. It’s in the Bible.

  9. Pingback: Coffee Theology
  10. The Latin captivity of the Eastern Church is most accurately dated to the year 1600 when Pope Clement VIII was introduced to coffee. “Why, this Satan’s drink is so delicious,” he declared, “that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall cheat Satan by baptizing it.” If you find yourself addicted to coffee, blame it on the Pope!

  11. Reblogged this on The True Metal Blog and commented:
    How many “metalheads” after reading this are now asking themselves why they aren’t drinking their coffee as black as their metal?
    How many “metalheads” went to re-stock their playlists to incorporate more Emperor, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Mercyful Fate, Kreator, Celtic Frost, King Diamond, Nargaroth, and Gorgoroth on it?
    How many of you “metalheads” decided to get a Darkthrone t-shirt because you just weren’t metal enough?
    How many “metalheads” are now depressed that the Christians are more “metal” than the Satanic, Pagan, black “metalheads” in this world?

    I’m really going to have to start doubling my efforts just to keep up with these Eastern Orthodox friars. They’re getting good. Real good.

  12. What about the cuban coffees? cafecito, cafe con leche, y cortadito 😀 Those are super good!!!

  13. I suppose I am mostly orthodox, though I dabble in Nestorianism, I would really love to practice pure lawlessness (who will save me from this body of death?), and find Pelagianism hilarious.

  14. Thank you Father! This is a good ( and funny) way to review most heresies of the past. I have translated this post in French for my blog ( It will be on it tomorrow morning ( 11/24 Jan. 2014)

    yours in Christ

    hypodeacon claude ( Lopez-Ginisty), Switzerland

    PS: Being in the Russian Church, I think I am safe, I mainly drink tea!

  15. In New Orleans, if not elsewhere, chicory is added to coffee; it does not replace it. Therefore our drink is syncretic and polytheistic rather than Arian. (The popularity of the drink dates from the Franco-Prussian War, when besieged Parisians had to add a bitter weed to their meager supplies of coffee.)

  16. As I sit here just finishing up an entire pot of coffee, I find myself a bit unsettled. I am not sure if it is caffeine jitters or spiritual angst. I may have to invoke Romans 14.

    Thanks for the laugh. Blessings to you.

  17. And thankfully the cappuccino is purely Orthodox teaching in essence …the Trinity of three equal parts making up a whole..One third espresso, one third milk and one third froth. ;):)Take away one and it will no longer be what was always and universally drunk 😄

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