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Coffee History: A Revolutionary Beverage

Jul 3, 2018 · coffee · culture · history
Coffee History: A Revolutionary Beverage

It's the 4th of July, which means fireworks, grilling, and for us, coffee! Coffee was an extremely important beverage during the American Revolutions. We decided it would be a great focus for this month's Coffee History! Read on to see how coffee fueled a revolution!

The Boston Tea Party

Tea was a huge part of colonial life, just as it was back in England. Many colonists drank tea as a source of caffeine, which was sought after during hard work days. In an effort to trick the colonies into agreeing to parliament's right of taxation (as well as help the flagging East India Company) the Parliament of Great Britain passed the Tea Act in 1773. This act gave the British East India Company exclusive rights to ship tea to the colonies. Further, the goal was that this would force colonists to purchase tea on which Townshen Act duties were paid. By paying these duties, it served as implicit agreement to further taxation from parliament. Understandably, this didn't sit well with colonists. On December 16th, 1773, a group calling themselves the "Sons of Liberty" led by Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and William Molineux took action. The group boarded a ship from the East India Company and dumped chests of tea into Boston Harbor. This act led to the tensions that ultimately ignited the American Revolution years later.

A Coffee Fueled Revolution!

While tea did continue to exist in the colonies after the Boston Tea Party, it became symbolic of the crown's oppression. In light of this, many colonists switched to drinking coffee. The primary struggle in drinking coffee was grinding the beans, as hand grinding was a long and arduous process. Luckily for revolutionaries, where there's demand, there's supply. Coffee houses sprung up all over the colonies. These coffee houses became headquarters of revolutionary activity, often playing host to secret (and no so secret) meetings of founding fathers. Most notable of these locations was the Green Dragon Tavern. This public house served as the "headquarters of the revolution" and served coffee alongside beer. Considering all of this, it's easy to see how coffee became such an important aspect of American life. It still is to this day!

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