Sunday, August 5, 2018
Tea, Coffee and Chocolate inQueen Anne’s Reign 1702 -1714 - Rosemary Morris
About Rosemary Morris
I live in Hertfordshire, near inspirational countryside and within easy access of London, which is useful when I want to visit places of historical interest in the capital city.
My historical romances, rich in facts, are written in my office, aka the former spare bedroom, furnished with a large waxed oak desk and an 8ft by 6 ft bookcase which contains my historical non-fiction for research, some of the classics, favourite novels and books of poetry.
To enhance my novels, I enjoy researching food and costume, politics and economics, social history, religion and other topics.
Although, as the saying goes, they did things differently in the past, emotions have not changed, but the characters in my novels are of their time, not 21st century people dressed in costume. Before I begin a new book, I name my main characters and fill in detailed character profiles. By the time I write the first sentence, I can visualise them and know the hero and heroine almost as well as I know my friends.
My novels have themes which modern day readers can relate to. For example, in The Captain and The Countess rank and wealth do not guarantee happiness.
Tea, Coffee and Chocolate inQueen Anne’s Reign 1702 -1714
These beverages were so popular that on the 16th December 1704 at the House of Commons a Committee of wayes and means resolved to double the duties on Coffee Tea and Chocolate.
The price of black tea fluctuated. In 1704 the price was between twelve and sixteen shillings a pound. Between 1706 and 1710 the minimum price was fourteen shillings per pound and the maximum price was thirty-two shillings.
Green tea cost as little as thirteen shillings and sixpence in 1705 and as much as twenty-six shillings a pound in 1707.
The variations in the cost were due to the age of the tea and whether leaves had been brewed, dried and mixed with cheaper tea.
On the 26th August 1710, an advertisement for tea was published in The Tatler.
Bohea Tea made of the same Materials that Foreign Bohea is made of, 16s a Pound. Sold by R. Fary only at the Bell in Grace Church Street, Druggist. Note, The Natural Pecko Tea will remain, after Infusion, of a light grey Colour. All other Bohea Tea, tho’ there be White in it, will change colour, and it is artificial.
Coffee Houses where men gathered to converse and read free broadsheets were popular. The price of coffee was mentioned in an advertisement in The Postman in 27/30th April 1706.
Whereas Coffee was formerly sold at 2s 6d per pound and is now already amounted to betwixt 6s and 7s per pound, the Majority of Retailers have thought it reasonable to request their Customers to pay 3 half pence per Dish and do assure that no person that sells Coffee for 1d a Dish can make good Coffee.
Care was taken in the manufacture coffee. For example.
Thomas Burges, Druggist, removed from Snow Hill to the Blew Anchor in Fleet Street, near Serjeants Inn, sells the best of coffee roasted in the new way, having a better flavour, and is a much sweeter way than the common method of roasting Coffee.
Chocolate Houses began to close when tea and coffee became more popular than chocolate, although the drink was still served at home by those who could afford it first thing in the morning.
There were two types of chocolate the most popular, Caraco, at 3s a pound and Martineco, at 2s 6p a pound, both of which were roasted, ground and sold plain or mixed with sugar.
In 1703 a man advertised his invention, a machine for making better quality chocolate which was 1s cheaper than the current prices.
However, it is worth noting that the duty on the nuts was high enough to make smuggling worthwhile. On the 14th/17th April, 1704 the London Post reported.
Last week 6 Sacks of Cocoa Nuts were seiz’d by a Customs Officer.
Excerpt from The Captain and The Countess
A gust of wind urged Edward and Lindsay forward through the door and into the noisy, smoke-filled coffeehouse. They made their way to the counter which was presided over by a good-looking female.
A flirtatious gleam appeared in her eyes. “What’s your pleasure, gentlemen?”
Edward handed her four pennies. “A bowl of coffee apiece.”
She indicated a lad of some ten years or more dressed in breeches, full-sleeved shirt, and apron. “He’ll serve you.”
Edward seized Lindsay by the arm and guided him to a bench to prevent his friend making advances toward the woman. “Don’t venture down that road unless you would welcome the pox.”
They sat facing the fire, above which lidded iron pots of water hung from hooks. The boy soon set bowls of steaming coffee on the trestle table before them. Edward laughed at the expectant look on the child’s face. “A penny for your trouble.”
The coin disappeared into a pocket before the boy darted off to serve another customer.
“Want to be back on board?”
“Yes, the wait is interminable but my uncle, Admiral Rooke, will see me right.”
“All very well for those with grand connections,” Lindsay teased.
Edward laughed as he punched his fist playfully.
Equally playful, Lindsay parried the blow.
Oh, it was good to be with an old friend.
Lindsay pointed to one of the many frames hanging on the wall. “A lock of mermaid’s hair,” he mocked. “And look at the horseshoes. One would think one was in a farrier’s shop.” He eyed a shelf. “Do you see those pills and potions? Nectar from the East to rejuvenate a man. I am surprised they don’t claim all those remedies are as infallible as the Pope.”
“Howard, Lindsay, as I live and breathe.”
They looked up at an elderly man—with a turban on his head—who wore a rust-coloured banyan. Both of them stood to salute the senior officer. “Captain Dennison,” they chorused.
“Nay, lads, I’ve retired. I live nearby with m’married daughter. Sit yourselves down. No need to salute.” Two gentlemen on the bench opposite Edward and Lindsay moved to make room for Dennison. “Boy,” he shouted. “Coffee laced with rum.” He gazed at Edward. “Heard about your trouble, m’lad. Can’t condone insubordination. I ran a tight ship but none called me tyrant. Never did approve of bullies. Well, who knows better than the two of you? Those were the days.”
Edward retained a soft spot for the old man who had always encouraged him to set his sights high. “Indeed they were, sir.”
Captain Denison eyed the fine glass lantern, inadequate to completely illuminate the coffee shop. “More light is needed, I can scarce see.” He peered through the tobacco smoke. “By my faith, there’s young Manners. Now he’s a likely lad.
Novels by Rosemary Morris
Early 18th Century novels:
Tangled Love, Far Beyond Rubies, The Captain and The Countess
False Pretences, Sunday’s Child, Monday’s Child, Tuesday’s Child, Wednesday’s Child and Thursday’s Child.
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