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

It appears by Le Grand’s “Vie privee des Francois,” that the celebrated Thevenot, in 1658, gave coffee after dinner; but it was considered as the whim of a traveller; neither the thing itself, nor its appearance, was inviting: it was probably attributed by the gay to the humour of a vain philosophical traveller. But ten years afterwards a Turkish ambassador at Paris made the beverage highly fashionable. The elegance of the equipage recommended it to the eye, and charmed the women: the brilliant porcelain cups in which it was poured; the napkins fringed with gold, and the Turkish slaves on their knees presenting it to the ladies, seated on the ground on cushions, turned the heads of the Parisian dames. This elegant introduction made the exotic beverage a subject of conversation, and in 1672, an Armenian at Paris at the fair-time opened a coffee-house. But the custom still prevailed to sell beer and wine, and to smoke and mix with indifferent company in their first imperfect coffee-houses. A Florentine, one Procope, celebrated in his day as the arbiter of taste in this department, instructed by the error of the Armenian, invented a superior establishment, and introduced ices; he embellished his apartment, and those who had avoided the offensive coffee-houses repaired to Procope’s; where literary men, artists, and wits resorted, to inhale the fresh and fragrant steam. Le Grand says that this establishment holds a distinguished place in the literary history of the times. It was at the coffee-house of Du Laurent that Saurin, La Motte, Danchet, Boindin, Rousseau, etc., met; but the mild streams of the aromatic berry could not mollify the acerbity of so many rivals, and the witty malignity of Rousseau gave birth to those famous couplets on all the coffee drinkers, which occasioned his misfortune and his banishment.

Such is the history of the first use of coffee and its houses at Paris. We, however, had the use before even the time of Thevenot; for an English Turkish merchant brought a Greek servant in 1652, who, knowing how to roast and make it, opened a house to sell it publicly. I have also discovered his hand-bill, in which he sets forth, “The vertue of the coffee-drink, first publiquely made and sold in England, by Pasqua Rosee, in St. Michael’s Alley, Cornhill, at the sign of his own head.”[4]

For about twenty years after the introduction of coffee in this kingdom, we find a continued series of invectives against its adoption, both for medicinal and domestic purposes. The use of coffee, indeed, seems to have excited more notice, and to have had a greater influence on the manners of the people, than that of tea. It seems at first to have been more universally used, as it still is on the Continent; and its use is connected with a resort for the idle and the curious: the history of coffee-houses, ere the invention of clubs, was that of the manners, the morals, and the politics of a people. Even in its native country, the government discovered that extraordinary fact, and the use of the Arabian berry was more than once forbidden where it grows; for Ellis, in his “History of Coffee,” 1774, refers to an Arabian MS., in the King of France’s library, which shows that coffee-houses in Asia were sometimes suppressed. The same fate happened on its introduction into England.

Among a number of poetical satires against the use of coffee, I find a curious exhibition, according to the exaggerated notions of that day, in “A Cup of Coffee, or Coffee in its Colours,” 1663. The writer, like others of his contemporaries, wonders at the odd taste which could make Coffee a substitute for Canary.

For men and Christians to turn Turks and think
To excuse the crime, because ’tis in their drink!
Pure English apes! ye may, for aught I know,
Would it but mode–learn to eat spiders too.[5]
Should any of your grandsires’ ghosts appear
In your wax-candle circles, and but hear
The name of coffee so much called upon,
Then see it drank like scalding Phlegethon;
Would they not startle, think ye, all agreed
‘Twas conjuration both in word and deed?
Or Catiline’s conspirators, as they stood
Sealing their oaths in draughts of blackest blood,
The merriest ghost of all your sires would say,
Your wine’s much worse since his last yesterday.
He’d wonder how the club had given a hop
O’er tavern-bars into a farrier’s shop,
Where he’d suppose, both by the smoke and stench,
Each man a horse, and each horse at his drench.–
Sure you’re no poets, nor their friends, for now,
Should Jonson’s strenuous spirit, or the rare
Beaumont and Fletcher’s, in your round appear,
They would not find the air perfumed with one
Castalian drop, nor dew of Helicon;
When they but men would speak as the gods do,
They drank pure nectar as the gods drink too,
Sublim’d with rich Canary–say, shall then
These less than coffee’s self, these coffee-men;
These sons of nothing, that can hardly make
Their broth, for laughing how the jest does take,
Yet grin, and give ye for the vine’s pure blood
A loathsome potion, not yet understood,
Syrop of soot, or essence of old shoes,
Dasht with diurnals and the books of news?