Why were Christian leaders at first against the consumption of coffee in Europe?
No matter where one is from, coffee is that one beverage everyone either raves over or resolutely dislikes. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground where coffee is concerned.
Born in the deep country of Muslim Ethiopia, coffee traveled to Europe through the efforts of Italian traders. By 1600, coffee had emerged as the most controversial drink in all Christendom. Indeed, conflict over the drinking of coffee created trouble even in Muslim lands where the drink itself was popular. Take for example, Sultan Murad IV, who banned coffee in Turkey. The claim was that coffee inspired degenerate behavior, but the real truth was that coffee houses had become popular places for gathered citizens to give voice to dissenting and often controversial political opinions.
Ironically, 17th century Christian European leaders fretted over what they termed was a licentious drink from Muslim lands. Already banned by the Orthodox Church, Catholic religious leaders soon sought Pope Clement VIII's help to censure the use of coffee. Accordingly, just as sacramental wine was denied the unbeliever, coffee, considered an infidel beverage by these leaders, should be denied the average Catholic as well. However, when the pope tasted the beverage, he proclaimed it so wonderful that Christian leaders were left embarrassed by their overzealous mission. Eventually, Pope Clement blessed and 'baptized' the brown beverage, to the relief of all Christendom. In so doing, Pope Clement spared Europe an ongoing religious controversy that was to plague Muslim lands for centuries.