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At the Amsterdam

Steven Shapin: A Wakefull and Civill Drink, 20 April 2006

The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffee House 
by Brian Cowan.
Yale, 364 pp., £25, January 2006, 0 300 10666 1
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Coffee House: A Cultural History 
by Markman Ellis.
Phoenix, 304 pp., £8.99, November 2005, 0 7538 1898 1
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... of all that talk about new forms of sociability? Does coffee itself have anything to do with it? Markman Ellis’s book is livelier and more wide-ranging than Cowan’s, extending its inquiry through 18th-century England to the great 19th-century Viennese coffee houses, and, further, into the world of espresso-drinking 1950s Londoners and early ...

Pretence for Prattle

Steven Shapin: Tea, 30 July 2015

Empire of Tea: The Asian Leaf that Conquered the World 
by Markman Ellis, Richard Coulton and Matthew Mauger.
Reaktion, 326 pp., £25, May 2015, 978 1 78023 440 3
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... cent, with 59 per cent from India and 31 per cent from new plantations in Ceylon. ‘Above all,’ Ellis et al write, ‘Indian plantations made tea truly British. Finally, the tea industry assumed patterns and structures that stemmed from – rather than operating in parallel dissonance to – Britain’s own commercial history.’ Indian tea was imperial ...

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