Monday, 21 November 2011

Coffee arrives in England from Turkey, 1651

Coffee was introduced into England from Turkey in 1651 by "Jacob", a Jew who presumably had contacts or experience of the Ottoman Empire. He started trading in Oxford, then moved to Southampton Buildings in Holborn in London. That area is overwhelmed by coffee shops today, but not sure what Jacob would think about the quality.

"It has been held by many respectable authorities, that coffee was first brought to England in 1652 by Mr. Edwards, a member of the Turkey Company, and that his servant was the first who opened a house for publicly vending it as a drink; but it appears from the following extracts from the Life of Wood, the antiquarian, that a coffee-house had been opened at Oxford a year or two sooner. “In 1651 one Jacob, a Jew, opened a coffee-house at the Angel, in the parish of St. Peter, in the East Oxon, and there it was, by some who delighted in noveltie, drunk. When he left Oxon, he sold it in Old Southampton Buildings, in Holborne, neare London, and was living there in 1671.”

William Milburn. Oriental commerce, Vol 2. 1813. Page 530.

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