This prologue describes beverages during prehistoric times. For most of human history, people took water directly from rivers, streams, lakes, and springs. When humans settled down into communities, they dug wells, collected rainwater, and constructed aqueducts to ensure an adequate supply for their personal needs and to support agriculture. Groups in particular areas developed preferences for beverages with specific flavorings and characteristics: coffee berries in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula; grapes and grains from the Middle East; tea leaves, citrus, and rice from China; hops and herbs from Europe; sugarcane and spices from South and Southeast Asia; apples from inner Asia; sassafras, cactus, and berries from North America; kola nuts from Africa; and maize, cocoa, and vanilla from Central America.
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