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Introduction Of Tea, Coffee, And Chocolate
by [?]

The first introduction of tea into Europe is not ascertained; according to the common accounts it came into England from Holland, in 1666, when Lord Arlington and Lord Ossory brought over a small quantity: the custom of drinking tea became fashionable, and a pound weight sold then for sixty shillings. This account, however, is by no means satisfactory. I have heard of Oliver Cromwell’s tea-pot in the possession of a collector, and this will derange the chronology of those writers who are perpetually copying the researches of others, without confirming or correcting them.[3]

Amidst the rival contests of the Dutch and the English East India Companies, the honour of introducing its use into Europe may be claimed by both. Dr. Short conjectures that tea might have been known in England as far back as the reign of James the First, for the first fleet set out in 1600; but had the use of the shrub been known, the novelty had been chronicled among our dramatic writers, whose works are the annals of our prevalent tastes and humours. It is rather extraordinary that our East India Company should not have discovered the use of this shrub in their early adventures; yet it certainly was not known in England so late as in 1641, for in a scarce “Treatise of Warm Beer,” where the title indicates the author’s design to recommend hot in preference to cold drinks, he refers to tea only by quoting the Jesuit Maffei’s account, that “they of China do for the most part drink the strained liquor of an herb called Chia hot.” The word Cha is the Portuguese term for tea retained to this day, which they borrowed from the Japanese; while our intercourse with the Chinese made us no doubt adopt their term Theh, now prevalent throughout Europe, with the exception of the Portuguese. The Chinese origin is still preserved in the term Bohea, tea which comes from the country of Vouhi; and that of Hyson was the name of the most considerable Chinese then concerned in the trade.

The best account of the early use, and the prices of tea in England, appears in the handbill of one who may be called our first Tea-maker. This curious handbill bears no date, but as Hanway ascertained that the price was sixty shillings in 1660, his bill must have been dispersed about that period.

Thomas Garway, in Exchange-alley, tobacconist and coffee-man, was the first who sold and retailed tea, recommending it for the cure of all disorders. The following shop-bill is more curious than any historical account we have.

“Tea in England hath been sold in the leaf for six pounds, and sometimes for ten pounds the pound weight, and in respect of its former scarceness and dearness it has been only used as a regalia in high treatments and entertainments, and presents made thereof to princes and grandees till the year 1657. The said Garway did purchase a quantity thereof, and first publicly sold the said tea in leaf or drink, made according to the directions of the most knowing merchants into those Eastern countries. On the knowledge of the said Garway’s continued care and industry in obtaining the best tea, and making drink thereof, very many noblemen, physicians, merchants, etc., have ever since sent to him for the said leaf, and daily resort to his house to drink the drink thereof. He sells tea from 16s. to 50s. a pound.”

Probably, tea was not in general use domestically so late as in 1687; for in the diary of Henry, Earl of Clarendon, he registers that “Pere Couplet supped with me, and after supper we had tea, which he said was really as good as any he had drank in China.” Had his lordship been in the general habit of drinking tea, he had not probably made it a subject for his diary.

While the honour of introducing tea may be disputed between the English and the Dutch, that of coffee remains between the English and the French. Yet an Italian intended to have occupied the place of honour: that admirable traveller Pietro della Valle, writing from Constantinople, 1615, to a Roman, his fellow-countryman, informing him that he should teach Europe in what manner the Turks took what he calls “Cahue,” or as the word is written in an Arabic and English pamphlet, printed at Oxford, in 1659, on “the nature of the drink Kauhi or Coffee.” As this celebrated traveller lived to 1652, it may excite surprise that the first cup of coffee was not drank at Rome; this remains for the discovery of some member of the “Arcadian Society.” Our own Sandys, at the time that Valle wrote, was also “a traveller,” and well knew what was “Coffa,” which “they drank as hot as they can endure it; it is as black as soot, and tastes not much unlike it; good they say for digestion and mirth.”