Regency Coffee


Some snippets from an 1829 cookbook:

Coffee, like tea, promotes watchfulness; indeed some persons cannot sleep after drinking it in an evening.

It is considered good for asthmatic patients. A mixture of made-mustard in coffee, is reckoned good for rheumatic persons. Coffee is also considered beneficial in dull headache.

Roasted acorns, beech-mast, rye, pease, beans, &c. &c. are all used as substitutes for coffee; and by frugal French families chicory put to the coffee grounds, and boiled up afresh, is allotted to servants and young members of the household.

The bad quality of English coffee is become a sort of national reproach. Its capital defect is a want of material, or that material having either lain too long in powder, or in roasted berries. Coldness is the reproach of our coffee even more than muddiness.

So, coffee lovers: does this curl your toes? Are you picky about your coffee? Or do you drink whatever comes your way, as long as it has caffeine?

And don’t forget: next Tuesday, we’re discussing the first Ioan Gruffudd “Horatio Hornblower” here at Risky Regencies!

Cara
Cara King, who prefers tea

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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22 Responses to Regency Coffee

  1. Carol says:

    I never learned to drink coffee – too bitter and upsetting to the stomach, but I love the flavor in ice cream, frosting, etc. But give me a nice cup of tea any time! Earl Grey, anything from Madura Tea in Australia, Stash’s peach tea made locally here in the Portland, Oregon area…ahhhhh.

  2. Joanna Waugh says:

    I can vouch for the efficaciousness of coffee with regard to asthma. Caffeine is similar to a popular asthma med called theophylline.

  3. janegeorge says:

    My son interns at a high-end restaurant on Saturdays and goes to the farmer’s market to shop for the restaurant. He brought us home a coffee called Blue Bottle. So far we’ve sampled varieties named Belladonovan and Three Africans. Both excellent, butI really like the Three Africans. Good stuff.

    I save coffee drinking for weekends and drink tea during the week.

    I find the history of drinking chocolate really interesting, too.

  4. Diane Gaston says:

    I am not at all fussy about my coffee as long as I can have two mugs of it in the morning. That said, I like French Roast. I don’t like flavored coffees, but special roasts like you mention, janegeorge, sound very intriguing! Unlike you, Carol, I like strong coffee. No sugar. No cream. Even demitasse I prefer black.

    Tea, too, I prefer strong. I love English Breakfast and Constant Comment. I did recently buy Lady Grey, too.

    I need to break my addiction to Diet Coke and get back in the tea habit…

  5. Linda Banche says:

    I’m another tea drinker. I never liked the taste of coffee, although ground coffee smells wonderful. I like strong Assam and African tea, and most of the English Breakfast blends.

  6. Elena Greene says:

    I like both tea and coffee, not a purist about either, for the most part. My mom likes instant, though, which is where I draw the line. Though I will happily drink coffee “plain” (still cream and sugar) I’m also a sucker for flavored stuff–hazelnut, vanilla, raspberry. I know it is unsophisticated but too bad, I like it!

  7. Cara King says:

    I’m with you, Carol! (Fellow Bujold fan!!!) I can actually drink coffee, and like it, but only with a lot of milk and sugar. And not too much at a time.

    But tea I love unreservedly. πŸ™‚ Just got some new interesting teas from a local tea shop, and am drinking one right now — very nice! (And it has a lot of letters after its name, so you know it’s good.) πŸ˜‰

    I like a variety of teas…black, green, flavored, unflavored, loose, bagged, cheap, expensive…except I don’t like Lipton for hot tea. (Nice for iced, though.) I almost always put milk in my tea (except for green tea or oolong), and never sugar.

    Joanna, that’s so fascinating about it helping with asthma! When I typed that out this morning, I was just assuming that was one of those myths.

    A coffee named Belladonovan, Jane George? Is it heart-stoppingly good? Does it sing 60’s music?

    Linda, I’m with you on the smell of coffee in the morning! It smells way better than it tastes, in my humble opinion. πŸ™‚

    Cara

  8. Ladyhawk says:

    I’m amazed that they knew about coffee and asthma. I’ve a friend who loves coffee and finds it a bonus that it helps her asthma.

    I’ve never cared for the smell, and can’t imagine drinking it. But then, I don’t like anything bitter. I like herbal teas (don’t know what I’d do without red raspberry leaf tea).

    My favorite is my own hot chocolate. I haven’t used a store-bought mix since I started making my own. And the flavored coffee creamers are great in it. πŸ™‚
    ~Judy

  9. Diane Gaston says:

    Judy, how do you make your hot chocolate?

    I think I would have liked the chocolate that Regency ladies drank. I suspect it was a bit bitter, which is what I like. Most already prepared hot chocolate is too sweet for me.

  10. Ladyhawk says:

    My sister-in-law shared hers with me, but I adapted it to my taste. She likes more sugar.

    Cocoa Mix:
    2 cups of cocoa powder – I use this gorgeous Ghirardelli.
    4 cups of sugar – I use baker’s sugar, as it blends more easily (my SiL uses more sugar, whereas I use scant cups).
    1 Tablespoon of vanilla powder
    1-1/2 teaspoon salt.

    I pour a little water in the bottom of a microwavable cup, heat it, and add 2 heaping teaspoons of the mix to make a the cocoa liquid, then blend in milk to make a full cup and nuke it. I’ve added 2 T of almond powder to flavor it, for variety. I’ve never done it, but I suppose you could make a single serving with 1 T of cocoa and 2 T of sugar, and simply play with the amounts to find what you like best. The important thing is to use a high quality cocoa! Enjoy. πŸ™‚
    ~Judy

  11. I am not a big coffee drinker, which is nearly sacrilegious here in the Deep South. I am, however, a devoted tea drinker. I must have a good cup of Earl Gray in the morning or I am worth nothing. English breakfast is good too. I got several new kinds of tea as Christmas gifts so I will let you know which ones work.

    The only coffee I enjoy is chickory coffee, but only the blends used in New Orleans or the backwoods of Louisiana – the kind that keeps you awake for a week!

    I will never forget my Dad’s first sip of coffee once we landed in England. I have never seen anyone make a face like that in my life! He was horrified!

  12. Diane Gaston says:

    Thanks for the recipe, Judy. I could experiment with less sugar, couldn’t I?

  13. Todd says:

    I, too, am a tea drinker rather than a coffee drinker–and I drink a lot of it! But I (driven by the frequent lack of good tea both the in the US and in some parts of Europe, and by my caffeine addiction) have learned to drink coffee when need be. I wish it tasted as good as it smells. πŸ™‚

    I found an interesting recipe from a period cookbook for concentrated coffee–basically, a thick syrup that one stored in a jar and mixed with boiling water to make coffee. So the idea of instant coffee is apparently pretty old.

    I’ve recently become obsessed with the comic Girl Genius by Kaja and Phil Foglio. There’s a brilliant sequence in which Agatha (the title character) has her first cup of coffee and invents the perfect coffee maker. Here’s where it starts.

    Todd-who-without-stimulants-would-be-unconscious-most-of-the-time

  14. Todd, you are so right that coffee smells soooo much better than the taste! (I love the smell of fresh-brewing coffee, but I don’t like to drink it much. Except the occasional treat of a Starbucks Mocha, but that’s not really coffee!)

    I drink tea all day long, green and black and white, I’m ecumenical about my tea. πŸ™‚ I like it unsweetened and strong–am currently obsessed with a variety called Russian Caravan, which I bought at my Christmas Eve tea lunch (it’s strong and slightly smoky, perfect for the cold weather). Last summer I loved Cherry Blossom Green. Wish we could all get together for a tea tasting!

  15. Tea has theophylline too, I believe, and black tea has a fair amount of caffeine altho it’s easier on the system than the jolt coffee gives you.

    Tea is an everyday pleasure for me, but coffee is a treat. I didn’t like it all that much until a few years ago I had my first Ethiopian coffee, and it was a revelation–so smooth and delicious! Now I tend to look out for organic, fair trade coffee. And I like the girly flavors too.

  16. I became a tea drinker very early on (3 yrs.?) because of the asthma connection. Now I drink both tea and coffee, but cannot begin the day without the latter. I’m not choosy, though, although I won’t drink anything but brewed (instant, yuk!).

  17. azteclady says:

    I drink one cup of coffee a day–of course, it’s about eight oz of espresso and eight oz milk with loads of sugar πŸ˜€ but it’s still just one, right?

    I love the smell of coffee, and definitely need the hard caffeine kick to finish waking up. No coffee, no workee, as one of my mugs reads πŸ˜€

    (and Megan, I’m soooooooo with you on that instant stuff–ugh!!!)

  18. azteclady says:

    Rats, and I forgot!

    Wishing you all Riskies a most wonderful, successful, happy and healthy 2009!

  19. Ladyhawk says:

    Hope you see this, Diane. Yes, definitely experiment with less sugar. More chocolate flavor. Yum! You could also experiment with different cocoas. I used Hersey until I tried the Ghirardelli. I never used Hersey again. πŸ™‚
    ~Judy

  20. Diane Gaston says:

    I was at the store today, Judy, and looked for the Ghirardelli. No luck. I’ll try again later.

  21. Ladyhawk says:

    Eep! I special ordered the cocoa, years ago, and keep it in my freezer. I imagine any high quality Dutch cocoa might due.
    ~Judy

  22. Todd says:

    Louisa wrote:

    The only coffee I enjoy is chicory coffee, but only the blends used in New Orleans or the backwoods of Louisiana – the kind that keeps you awake for a week!

    Oh, when I was in New Orleans last year I went to a famous coffee stand in the French Market for chicory coffee and beignets. It was…weird. πŸ™‚ I think the stand was the CafΓ© du Monde. Which literally means “CafΓ© of the World” but idiomatically means something more like “Everybody’s CafΓ©.” Sounds better in French…

    http://www.cafedumonde.com/

    Todd-who-may-install-a-caffeine-IV-and-skip-the-middle-man

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