We’re going back into the archives to revisit these classic posts by James Norwood Pratt. This post includes two different multi-part sequences: “Holland is First” and “Coffeehouse and Tea Garden”. We have added a link to the end of each one to take you to the next if you would like to read them as a sequence, or you can choose which you want to peruse below. Enjoy!

Holland is First


Your Honors know that trade in Asia must be
maintained under the protection and favor of Your
Honor’s own weapons. We cannot carry on trade without war nor war without trade.

Dispatch to the Dutch East India Company
Lords Seventeen, Laurens Reael,
Governor-General of Dutch Indies, 1618

Part One

In the history of tea, as in much else, the doughty Dutch tend to get overlooked by historians writing about their more numerous neighbors. But in civilization as well as seamanship and commerce they were… (Read more)

Part Two

Within a generation–by 1637–tea from China and Japan was in sufficient demand in Holland for the Company to order regular imports of both on each homeward bound vessel. Within another generation the Dutch… (Read more)

Coffeehouse and Tea Garden

For tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities, or are become so from wine-drinking, and are not susceptible of influence from so refined a stimulant, will always be the favored beverage of the intellectual….

Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859),
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

Part One

The eighteenth century was thus underway. “Slack about morals, strict about the proprieties,” as an old author has well said, “it produced far and away the most amusing and attractive society that England has ever known.” It was a society addicted to… (Read more)

Part Two

The coffeehouse was a place where a man was safe from his womenfolk (who were forbidden to enter), and although the ladies in their drawing rooms complained about this, in truth no gentlewoman… (Read more)

Part Three

As I said before, the coffeehouse, established for the drinking of one beverage, was soon invaded by the other. Thomas Garway’s was among the firs… (Read more)

Part Four

Steele and his friend Joseph Addison had become the first Englishmen to earn a livelihood as writers. The coffeehouses served not only as rooms for reading their periodicals, the Tatler and the Spectator, but provided… (Read more)

Photo “Tea time…..” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Dennis Jarvis and is being posted unaltered (source)