April Talk

Tea Coffee Chocolate

How we fell in love with caffeine


Thursday 11th April at 7.30pm

Hybrid talk: Live in the museum and Livestream

Most people may not know that tea originated in China; coffee was allegedly discovered by a goat herder in Yemen, and chocolate plantations were cultivated in 400BC by the Olmecs in South America.




But it wasn’t until the middle of the seventeenth century that these beverages were all imported to England for the first time.



17th Century Coffee House

Tea Drinking in the 17th Century


However, strange tales and ‘fake news’ soon surrounded these exotic new beverages: pregnant mothers feared their babies would turn brown if they drank too much chocolate, tea was believed to make men ‘unfit to do their business’, and was blamed for women becoming unattractive.  Men claimed tea-drinking caused women to become peevish with their husbands, whilst women felt hard down by in the bedroom if men drank coffee.  On the other hand, coffee was also recommended as protection against bubonic plaque.




There was no doubt, however, that the arrival of these three beverages changed the drinking habits of the English forever, regardless of the pros and cons associated with each.


Join Melanie King, writer and social historian, as she illuminates, in an amusing and informative talk, our obsession with caffeine.


Thursday 11th April at 7.30pm

Tickets: £7 / £5 members

available to purchase