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Tea, Coffee & Chocolate: How We Fell in Love with Caffeine

Sunday 10 April 2016

1 Hour


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Ticket price

Writer Melanie King explains how we fell in love with caffeine and explores the centuries-old debate about their supposed benefits and harmfulness.

Three beverages arrived in England in the 1650s from faraway, exotic places: tea from China, coffee from the Middle East and chocolate from Mesoamerica. Physicians, diarists and politicians were quick to comment on their supposed benefits and alleged harmfulness, using newspapers, pamphlets and handbills both to promote and denounce their sudden popularity. Others seized the opportunity to serve the growing appetite for these newly discovered drinks by setting up coffee houses or encouraging one-upmanship in increasingly elaborate tea-drinking ceremonies. How did the rowdy and often comical initial reception of these drinks form the roots of today’s enduring caffeine culture? King will share some of the lesser known facts of how we fell in love with caffeine.

King is also author of Secrets in a Dead Fish: The World War I Spying Game  and Can Onions Cure Ear-ache?

Presented by the Bodleian Libraries