Press cutting (Sunday Times, London?) dated 1960 found in a copy of Aytoun Ellis's book Essence of Beauty. Interesting how the modern Mocha is no longer a food drink...
SIR,–No meals were served in the seventeenth-century coffee-houses. The serving of coffee after dinner was however an established practice before that century ended, although only in the nobility. Richard Hoare, the goldsmith, who had removed from Cheapside to Fleet Street in 1690, made " a plain coffee port " for Lord Derby, to be sent to Knowsley with " six pounds of coffee berries." (The coffee doubtless came from Hoare's neighbor at Temple Bar–Thomas Twinning.)
By the mid-eighteenth-century, when most of London's 2,000 coffee-houses had closed down or become clubs, taverns, or chop-houses, coffee was served with meals in certain of the inns and eating-houses, particularly in provincial towns like Chester, Exeter, Liverpool, and in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Anyone who has tasted Mocha coffee as made in the early coffee-houses–" the bitter black drink " (as Pepys called it)–will agree that it was food and drink in one! The only complaints appear to have come from " the trade," jealous of this new and formidable rival, and from the women, who complained that they were neglected by their husbands whose addiction to this " enfeebling " drink made them " as unfruitful as the desert from where that unhappy berry is said to be brought."
J. A. Aytoun-Ellis Sussex.
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SIR,–In " The Cook's Oracle " by Dr. Wm. Kitchiner (seventh edition, 1823) you read:-
Coffee, as drank in England, debilitates the Stomach, and produces a slight nausea. In France and in Italy it is made strong from the best coffee, and is poured out hot and transparent. In England it is usually made from bad coffee, served out tepid and muddy, and drowned in a deluge of water, and sometimes deserves the title given to it in " The Petition against Coffee," 4to, 1674, p. 4, " a base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking Puddle Water." . . . . No coffee will bear drinking with what is called milk in London.
Has the situation changed very much?
W. H. S. Williams.