Today, tea may be the drink most associated with the English. From the mid 1600s until the late 1700s, however, hot chocolate and coffee were the more popular drinks. Newly imported from Africa and South America, these drinks became fashionable novelties in the 1660s.
Coffee houses were hubs of social activity, particularly popular with businessmen, politicians, stock market traders, writers and intellectuals. In this poem from 1665, the writer – self-styled as an ‘Eye and Ear Witness’ – describes the variety of characters that could be found within a coffee house:
Here you're not thrust into a Box
As Taverns do to catch the Fox
But as from the top of Paul's high steeple,
The whole City's viewed, even so all people
May be seen.
This book can has been digitised in full and is available here.