Coffee and Tea
FACTS, and figures representing facts, are recognized as stubborn adversaries when arrayed singly in an argument; in aggregate, and in generalizations drawn from aggregates, they are often unanswerable.
To the nervous reader it may seem a startling, and to the reformatory one a melancholy fact, that every soul in these United States has provided for him annually, and actually consumes, personally or by proxy, between six and seven pounds of coffee, and a pound of tea ; while in Great Britain enough of these two luxuries is imported and drunk to furnish every inhabitant, patrician or pauper, with over a pound of the former, and two of the latter.
Coffee was brought to Western Europe, by way of Marseilles, in 1644, and made its first appearance in London about 1652. In 1853, the estimated consumption of coffee in Great Britain, according to official returns, was thirty-five million pounds, and in the United States, one hundred and seventy-five million pounds, a year.
Tea, in like manner, from its first importation into England by the Dutch East India Company, early in the seventeenth century, and from a consumption indicated by its price, being sixty shillings a pound, has proportionately increased in national use, until, in 1854, the United States imported and retained for home consumption twenty-five, million pounds, and England fifty-eight million pounds.
Two centuries have witnessed this almost incredible advance. The consumption of coffee alone has increased, in the past twenty-five years, at the rate of four per cent, per annum, throughout the world.
We pay annually for coffee fifteen millions of dollars, and for tea seven millions. Twenty-two millions of dollars for articles which are popularly accounted neither fuel, nor clothing, nor food !
"What a waste!" cries the reformer; "nearly a dollar apiece, from every man, woman, and child throughput the country, spent on two useless luxuries ! ”
Is it a waste ? Is if possible that we throw all this away, year after year, in idle stimulation or sedation ?
It is but too true, that the instinct, leading to the use of some form of stimulant, appears to be universal in the human race. We call it an instinct, since all men naturally search for stimulants, separately, independently, and unceasingly, —because use renders their demands as imperious as are those for food.
Next to alcohol and tobacco, coffee and tea have supplied more of the needed excitement to mankind than any other stimulants; and, taking the female sex into the account, they stand far above the two former substances in the ratio of the numbers who use them.
In Turkey coffee is regarded as the essence of hospitality and the balm of life. In China not only is tea the national beverage, but a large part of the agricultural and laboring interest of the country is engaged in its cultivation. Russia follows next in the almost universal use of tea, as would naturally result from it's proximity and the common origin of a large part of its population. Western Europe employs both coffee and tea largely, while France almost confines itself to the former. The cafe's are more numerous, and have a more important social bearing, than any other establishments in the cities of France. Great Britain Uses more tea than coffee. The former beverage is there thought indispensable by all classes. The poor dine on half a loaf rather than lose their cup of tea ; just as the French peasant regards his demi-bouteille of Vin Bleu as the most important part of his meal.
Tea first roused the rebellion of these American Colonies; and tea made many a half Tory among the elderly ladies of the Revolution. It has, indeed, been regarded. and humorously described by the senior Weller, as the indispensable comforter and friend of advanced female life. Dr. Johnson was as noted for his fondness for tea as for his other excesses at the table. Many sober minds make coffee and tea the vis a tergo of their daily intellectual labor; just as a few of greater imagination or genius seek in opium the spur of their ephemeral efforts. In the United States, the young imbibe them from their youth up; and it is quite as possible that a part of the nation’s nervousness may arise from this cause, as it is probable that our wide-spread dyspepsia begins in the use of badlycooked solid food, immediately on the completion of the first dentition.
All over this country we drink coffee and tea, morning and night; at least, the majority of us doThey are expensive ; their palpable results to the senses are fleeting; they are reported innutritions; uav, far worse, they are decried as positively unwholesome. Yet we still use them, and no one has succeeded in leading a crusade against them at all comparable with the onslaughts on other stimulants, made in these temperance days. The fair sex raises its voice against tobacco and other masculine sedatives, but clings pertinaciously to this delusion.
It becomes, then, an important question to decide whether the choice of civilization is justified by experience or science,—and whether some effect on the animal economy, ulterior to a merely soothing or stimulant action, can be found to sanction the use of coffee and tea. And this is a question in so far differing from that of other stimulants, that it is not to be discussed with the moralist, but solely with the economist and the sanitarian.
More even than us, economically, does it concern the overcrowded and limited states of Europe, where labor is cheap. and the necessaries of life absorb all the efforts, to decide whether so much of the earnings of the poor is annually thrown away in idle stimulation.
It concerns us in a sanitary point of view, more than in any other way, and more than any other people. We are rich, spare in habit, and of untiring industry. We can afford luxurious indulgences, we are very susceptible to nervous stimuli, and we overwork.
Our national habit is feeble. Debility is recognized as the prevailing type of our diseases. Nervous exhaustion is met by recourse to all kinds of stimulation. We are apt to think coffee and tea as harmless, or rather as slow in their deleterious action, as any. Are they nothing more ?
As debility marks the degeneration of our physical constitution, so does a morbid sensitiveness at all earthly indulgence, a tendency to reform things innocent, although useless, betray the weakness of the moral health of our day. An ascetic spirit is abroad; our amateur physiologists look rather to a mortification than an honest building-up of the flesh. They prefer naked muscle to rounded outline, and seek rather to test than to enjoy their bodies. Fearing to be Epicureans, they become Spartans, as far as their feebler organizations will allow them, and very successful Stoics, by the aid of Saxon will. By a faulty logic, things which in excess are hurtful are denied a moderate use. Habits innocent, in themselves are to be cast aside, lest they induce others which are injurious.
There is but little danger that Puritan antecedents and a New England climate should tend to idle indulgence or Epicurean sloth. We think there is a tendency to reform too far. We confess our preference for the physique of Apollo to that of Hercules. We acknowledge an amiable weakness for those, bounties of Nature winch soothe or comfort us or renew our nervous energy, and which, we think, injure us no more than our daily bread, if not immoderately used.
Science almost always finds some foundation in fact for popular prejudices. For years, men have continued wasting their substance on coffee and tea, insisting that they strengthened as well as comforted them, in spite of the warnings of the sanitarian, who looked on them solely as stimulants or sedatives, and of the economist, who bewailed their extravagant cost.
Physiology, relying on organic chemistry, has at least justified by experiment the choice of the civilized world. Coffee and tea had been regarded by the physiologist and the physician as stimulants of the nervous system, and to a less extent and secondarily of the circulation, and that was all. To fulfil this object, and to answer the endless craving for habitual excitants of the cerebral functions, they had been admitted reluctantly to the diet of their patients, rather as necessary evils than as positive goods. It was reserved for the all-searching German mind to discover their better qualities; and it is only within the last five years, that the self-sacrificing experiments of Dr. Böcker of Bonn, and of Dr. Julius Lehmann, have raised them to their proper place in dietetics, as "Accessory Foods.” This term, which we borrow from the remarkable work on "Digestion and its Derangements,” by Dr. Thomas K. Chambers, of London, is only the slightest of the many obligations which we hasten to acknowledge ourselves under to this author, as will appear from citations in the course of this article.
The labors of earlier physiologists and chemists, as Carpenter, Liebig, and Paget, had resulted in the classification of nutritive substances under different heads, according to the purposes they served in the physical economy. Perhaps the most convenient, though not an unexceptionable division, is into the Saccharine, Oleaginous, Albuminous, and Gelatinous groups. The first includes those substances analogous in composition to sugar, being chemically composed of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Such are starch, gum, cellulose, and so forth, which are almost identical in their ultimate composition, and admit of ready conversion into sugar by a simple process of vital chemistry. The oleaginous group comprises all oily matters, which are even purer hydro-carbons than the firstmentioned class. The third, or albuminous group, includes all substances closely allied to albumen, and hence containing a large proportion of nitrogen in addition to the other three elements. The last group consists also of nitrogcuized substances, which resemble gelatine, in many of their characteristics. The first two groups are called non-azotized, as they contain no nitrogen ; the last two, azotized, containing nitrogen. "All articles of food that are to he employed in the production of heat must contain a larger proportion of hydrogen than is sufficient to form water with the oxygen that they contain, and none are appropriate for the maintenance of any tissues (except the adipose) unless they contain nitrogen.” Hence the obvious restriction of the first two classes to the heat-producing function, arid of the last two (or azotized) to the reparation of the tissues.
We have, then, the two natural divisions of calorifacient and plastic foods: the one adapted to sustain the heat of the body, and enable us to maintain a temperature independent of that of the medium we may be in; the other to build up, repair, and preserve in their natural proportions the various tissues, as the muscular, fibrous, osseous, or nervous, which compose our frames. These two kinds of food we must have in due proportion and quantity in order to live. Neither the animal nor the vegetable kingdom furnishes the one to the exclusion of the other. We derive our supplies of each from both. More than this, we consume and appropriate certain incidental elements, which find their place, and use in the healthy system. Iron floats in our blood, sulphur lies hidden in the hair and nails, phosphorus scintillates unseen in the brain, lime compacts our bones, and fluorine sets the enamelled edges of our teeth. At least one-third of all the known chemical elements exist in some part of the human economy, and are taken into the stomach hidden in our various articles of food. This would seem enough tor Nature’s requirements. It is enough lor all the brute creation. As men, and as thinkers, we need something more.
In all the lower orders of creation the normal state is preserved. Health is the rule, and sickness the rare exception. Demand and supply are exactly balanced. The contraction of the voluntary muscles, and the expenditure of nervous power consequent on locomotion, the temperate use of the five senses, and the quiet, regular performance of the great organic processes, limit the life and the waste of the creature. But when the brain expands in the dome-like cranium of the human being, a new and incessant call is made on the reparative forces. The nervous system has its demands increased a hundred-fold. We think, and we exhaust; we scheme, imagine, study, worry, and enjoy, and proportionately we waste.
In the rude and primitive nations this holds good much less than among civilized people. Yet even among them, the faculties whose possession involves this loss have been ever exercised to repair it by artificial means. In the busy life of to-day how much more is this the case ! Overworked brains and stomachs, underworked muscles and limbs, soon derange the balance of supply and demand. We waste faster than enfeebled digestion can well repair. We feel always a little, depressed ; we restore the equilibrium temporarily by stimulation,—some with alcohol and tobacco, others with coffee and tea.
Now it is to these last means of supply that the name has been given of "accessory foods.”
“Accessories are those by whose use the moulting and renewing (that is, the metamorphosis) of the organic structures are modified, so as best to accommodate themselves to required circumstances. They may be subdivided into those winch arrest and those which increase metamorphosis.” It is under the former class that are placed alcohol, sugar, coffee, and tea.
Again, says Dr. Chambers,—“Not satisfied with the hare necessaries,” (the common varieties of plastic and calorifacient food,) "we find that our species chiefly are inclined by a soi-disant instinct to feed on a variety of articles the use of which cannot be explained as above ; they cannot be refound in the organism ; they cannot, apparently, without complete disorganization, be employed to build up the body. These may be considered as extra diet, or called accessory foods.....These are what man does not want, if the protracting from day to day his residence on earth be the sole object of his feeding. He could live without them, grow without them, think, after a fashion, without them. A baby does. Would he be wise to try and imitate it ?
"Thus, there is no question but that easily assimilable brown meat is the proper food for those whose muscular system is subjected to the waste arising from hard exercise; and if plenty of it is to be got, and the digestive organs are in sufficiently good order to absorb enough to supply the demand, it completely covers the deficiency. Water, under these circumstances, is the best drink; and a 'total abstainer,' with plenty of fresh meat, strong exercise, and a vigorous digestion, will probably equal anybody in muscular development. But should the digestion not be in such a typical condition, should the exercise be oversevere and the victuals deficient, then the waste must be limited by some arrester of metamorphosis; if it is not, the system suffers, and the man is what is called 'overworked...... Intellectual labor also exercises the demand for food, and at the same time, unfortunately, injures the assimilating organs; so that, unless a judicious diet is employed, waste occurs which cannot be replaced.”
Waste, we may be told, is life, and the rapidity of change marks the activity of the vital processes. True, if each particle consumed is at once and adequately replaced. Beyond that point, let the balance once tend to over-consumption, and we approach the confines of decay. Birds live more and faster than men, and insects probably most of all; yet many of the latter are ephemeral.
Every-day experience had long pointed to the recurring coincidence, that, of the annual victims of pulmonary consumption, few were to be found among the habitual consumers of ardent spirits. Science volunteered the explanation, that alcohol supplied a hydro-carbonaceous nutriment similar to that furnished by the cod-liver oil, which, serving as fuel, spared the wasting of the tissues, just in proportion to its own consumption and assimilation. Other aid it was supposed to lend, by stimulating the function of nutrition to renewed energy. Later investigations have proved that it exercises a yet more important influence as an arrester of metamorphosis. It was on arriving at this conclusion, that Dr. Böcker was led to institute a series of careful experiments to determine the influence of water on the physical economy, and the real value of salt, sugar, coffee, tea, and other condiments, as articles of food, "The experimenter appears to have used the utmost precision, and details so conscientiously the mode adopted of making his estimates, that additional knowledge may perhaps alter the conclusions drawn, but can never diminish the value of the experiments.” They are not open to the objections of mistaken sensations, and honest, though ludicrous, misapprehension of fallible symptoms, to which the testing of drugs homœopathically is liable, and of which another instance has just occurred in London, in the “proving” of the new medicinal agent, gonoiue. They rather resemble in accuracy a quantitative, as well as a qualitative, analysis. We will cite first the experiments on tea, and quote from the interesting narrative of Dr. Chambers.
"After Dr. Böcker had determined by some preliminary trials what quantity of food and drink was just enough to satiate his appetite without causing loss of weight to his body,—that is to say, was sufficient to cover exactly the necessary outgoings of the organism,—he proceeded to special experiments, in which, during periods of twenty-four hours, he took the amount of victuals ascertained by the former trials.
"The first set of the first series of experiments consists of seven observations, of twenty-four hours' duration each, in the months of July and August, with three barely sufficient meals per diem, in quantities as nearly equal each day as could be managed, and only spring-water to drink. The second set comprises the same number of observations in August, September, and October, under similar circumstances, except that infusion of tea, drunk cold, was taken instead of plain water.
“ Each day there are carefully recorded ” qualitative and quantitative analyses of the excretions,—estimates of “ the amount of insensible perspiration, and of expired carbonic acid,—the quickness of respiration,—the beats of the pulse,—together with accurate notes of the duration of bodily exercise in the open air, the loss of weight of the whole body, the general feelings, and the circumstances, thermometric, barometric, and meteoric, under which the observations are taken.
A second series of seventeen experiments of equal duration were made, and at a different time of year, so as to answer the question, which might arise, as to whether the season made any difference.”
In these experiments similar observations and records are made as previously, “under the three following circumstances, namely : while taking tea as an ordinary drink, on the days immediately following the leaving it off, and on other days when it was not taken.”
"A third series, of four experiments, was also made during four fasts of thirtysix hours each,—two with water only, and two with tea to drink.
“ In the following particulars, all the three series so entirely coincide, that the conclusions will be set down as general deductions from the whole.
“Tea, in ordinary doses, has not any effect on the amount of carbonic acid expired, the frequency of the respirations, or of the pulse.”
Obviously, then, it is not with reference to the heat-producing function that we can look upon tea as in any sense a nutriment ; and if it causes no saving of carbon, its effects must be sought in checking some other waste, or in the less consumption of nitrogen. The pulse, and hence the respiration, are unaltered ; for the two great processes of circulation and aeration of the blood are interdependent functions, and have, in health, a definite ratio of activity one with the other. As a nervous stimulant, tea in excess will, as we all know, produce an exaltation of the action of the heart, amounting in some persons to a painful and irregular palpitation. No such result seems to follow its moderate use.
“The loss by perspiration is limited by tea.”
This seems, at first, contrary to common experience, as the sensible perspiration produced by several cups of warm tea is a familiar fact to all tea-drinkers. That this effect is wholly owing to the warmth of the mixture, it being drunk usually in hot infusion or decoction, was pointed out long since by Cullen. Tea limits perspiration, perhaps, by the astringent action of the tannin which it contains,—of which more hereafter. What is saved by limiting perspiration ? Water, largely ; carbonic acid, in considerable amount; ammonia (a nitrogenized substance ;) salts of soda, potash and lime, and a trace of iron, all in quantities minute, to be sure, but to be counted in the aggregate of arrest of metamorphosis.
But the great fact which establishes tea as an arrester of the change of tissue is, that its use diminishes remarkably the amount of nitrogen thrown off by the excretions, specially destined to remove that element, when in excess, from the system. We have before called attention to the fact, that an indispensable component of plastic food, by which alone the tissues are repaired, is nitrogen. By a chcmicovital process, nitrogen builds up and is incorporated in the tissues. Nitrogen, again, is one of the resulting components of the change of tissue. This element forms a large part of the effete particles which are rejected on accumulation from such change or waste. That a less amount is excreted by the tea-drinker, when similar quantities are ingested, the weight and plumpness of the body remaining undiminished the while, is proof of the slower change of tissue which takes place under the modifying influence of tea. The importance of this effect we shall presently see.
"In the first series of experiments, the daily allowance of food, though less copious on the tea days, was more nitrogenized, and nitrogen also was taken in as theine. Yet, in spite of this, the quantity thrown off in twenty-four hours was nearly a gramme less than on the water days. Still more strikingly is this shown in the days of complete fast, when pure spring-water is seen to cause a greater loss of nitrogen than infusion of tea, in spite of the supply of nitrogen contained in the latter. The difference also is seen to exist in spite of an increased amount of bodily exercise.”
As final deductions from those experiments, there result, first, "that, when the diet is sufficient, the body is more likely to gain weight when tea is taken than when not”; second, “that, when the diet is insufficient, tea limits very much the loss of weight, thereby entailed.”
A set of experiments made by Dr. Lehmann are parallel with these. They exhibit the effects of coffee on the excretion of phosphorus, chloride of sodium, (common salt,) and nitrogen. If less full than Dr. Banker's, they appear to be equally accurate, and more complete in showing the separate actions of the several constituents of coffee. It would be tedious to the general reader to follow them in detail, and we shall avail ourselves of the brief résumé of Dr. Chambers.
“First,—Coffee produces on the organism two chief effects, which it is very difficult to connect together,—namely, the raising the activity of the vascular and nervous systems, and protracting remarkably the decomposition of the tissues. Second,—that it is the reciprocal modifications of the specific actions of the empyrenmatic oil and cafeine contained in the bean which call forth the stimulant effects of coffee, and therefore those peculiarities of it which possess importance in our eyes, — such as the rousing into new life the soul prostrated by exertion, and especially the giving it greater elasticity, and attuning it to meditation, and producing a general feeling of comfort. Third, — that the protraction of metamorphic decomposition which this beverage produces in the body is chietly caused by the empyreumatie oil, and that the cafeine only causes it when it is taken in larger quantity than usual. Fourth, —that cafeine (in excess) produces increased action of the heart, rigors, headache, a peculiar inebriation, delirium, and so on. Fifth,—that the empyreumatic oil (in excess) causes perspirations, augmented activity of the understanding, which may end in irregular trains of thought, restlessness, and incapacity for sleep.”
It follows that both the active elements of the coffee-berry are necessary to insure its grateful effects,—that the volatile and odorous principle alone protracts decomposition,—and that careful preparation in roasting and decocting are essential to secure the full benefits of it as a beverage.
It would be difficult to overestimate the practical importance of these results. They raise coffee and tea from the rank of stimulants to that of food,—from idle luxuries to real agents of support and lengthening of life. Henceforth the economist can hear of their increasing consumption without a regret. The poor may indulge in them. not as extravagant enjoyments, but practical goods. The cup of tea, which is the sole luxury of their scanty meal, lessens the need for more solid food ; it satisfies the stomach, while it gladdens the heart. It saves them, too, the waste of those nitrogenized articles of food which require so much labor and forethought to procure. The flesh meats and the cereals, which contain the largest amounts of this requisite of organic life, are always the dearest articles of consumption. Certainly it is not as positive nutriment that we recommend the use of coffee and tea ; for although they contain a relatively large amount of nitrogen, that supply can be better taken in solid food. Their benefit is two-fold. While they save more than enough of the waste of tissue to justify their use as economical beverages, they supply a need of the nervous system of no small importance. They cheer, refresh, and console. They thus fill a place in the wants of humanity which common articles of food cannot, inasmuch as they satisfy the cravings of the spirit as well as of the flesh.
We have before attempted to show that the human race is liable to a peculiar and constant waste from the development of the nervous system, and that the body has to answer for the labor of the mind. At first thought, we shall find it difficult to appreciate the endless vigilance and activity of the brain. Like the other organisms which possess a proper nervous system, man carries on the common organic processes of life with a regularity and unfailing accuracy which seem to verge on the mechanical forces, or to be, at least, automatic. All habitual voluntary acts by repetition become almost automatic, or require no perceptibly distinct impulse of the will. When we emerge from this necessary field of labor, we come to those functions peculiar to the proper brain. Here all is continual action. Thought, imagination, will, the conflicting passions, language, and even articulation, claim their first impulse from the nervous centre. The idlest reverie, as well as the most profound study, taxes the brain. That distinguishing attribute of man can almost never rest. In sleep, to be sure, we find a seeming exception. Then only its inferior pomion remains necessarily at work to supervise the breathing function. Yet we know that we have often dreamed,—while we do not know how often we fail to recall our dreams. The duality of the cerebrum may also furnish a means of rest in all trivial mental acts. Still, the great demands of the mind upon the nervous tissues remain. And it is these losses which may be peculiarly supplied by the nervous stimulants. Such are coffee and tea. Common nutrition by common food, and particularly the adipose and phosphatic varieties, nourishes nerve tissue, no doubt, as gluten and fibrine do muscle. But the stimulants satisfy temporarily their pressing needs, and enable them to continue their labors without exhaustion. Reacting again upon the rest of the body, they invigorate the processes of ordinary nutrition ; for whatever rests or stimulates the nerve proportionately refreshes and vitalizes the tissues which it supplies.
It would be curious and well worth while to follow out the peculiar connection between the use of coffee and the excretion of phosphorus, which has been before hinted at. Other experiments of Dr. Böcker prove sugar to be a great saver of the phosphates, and hence of bone,—which affords, at least, a very plausible reason for the instinctive fondness of children for sweets, during the building portion of their lives.
In exhausting labors, long-continued exposure, and to insure wakefulness, the uses of coffee and tea have long been practically recognized by all classes. The sailor, the trapper, and the explorer value them even above alcohol; and in high latitudes we are assured of their importance in bracing the system to resist the rigors of the Arctic winter.
There is of course, as in all human history, another side of this picture. Abuse follows closely after use. The effects of the excessive employment of nervous stimulants in shaking the nerves themselves, and in impairing digestion, are too familiar to need description. Yet even here abuse is not followed by those terrible penalties which await the drunkard or the opium-eater. Idiosyncrasy, too, may forbid their use; and this is not very rare. As strengtheners and comforters of the average human system, however, they have no superiors, and none others are so largely used.
It is a little singular that the active principles of coffee and tea are probably identical,—no more so, however, than the marvellous similarity of starch, gum, and sugar, or other chemical wonders. They have been called cafeine and theine, respectively. They are azotized, and contain quite a marked amount of nitrogen. Chemically, they consist of carbon 19, hydrogen 10, nitrogen 4, oxygen 4. Some allowance is therefore to be made for them as plastic food.
This peculiar principle (theine) is also found in the leaves of the Ilex Paraguayensis, or Paraguay tea, used in South America, as a beverage.
"Good black tea contains of
theine from 2.00 to 2.13 per cent. Coffee-leaves " " 1.15 “ 1.25 “ “ Paraguay tea “ “ 1.01 “ 1.23 “ “ The coffee-berry a mean of 1.00 “ “
“Besides the theine and the essential oils, which latter give the aroma of the plants, there is contained in both coffee and tea a certain amount of difficultly soluble vegetable albumen, and in the latter, especially, a large quantity of tannin. Roasting renders volatile the essential oil of the coffee-berry. The tea-leaf, infused for a short time, parts with its essential oil, and a small portion of alkaloid, (theine,) a good deal of which is thrown away with the grounds. If it stands too long, or is boiled, more indeed is got out of it, but an astringent, disagreeable, drink is the result. The boiling of coffee extracts all its oil and alkaloid too, and, when it is drunk with the grounds, allows the whole nutriment to be available. Even when strained, it is clearly more economical than tea.”
Roasted coffee is a powerful deodorizer, also. This fact is familiarly illustrated by its use in bar-rooms; and it might be made available for other purposes.
The cost and vast consumption of coffee and tea have made the inducements to adulterate them very great. The most harmless form is the selling of coffeegrounds and old tea-leaves for fresh coffee and tea. There is no security in buying coffee ready-ground; and we always look at the neat little packages of it in the grocers’ windows with a shudder. Beans and peas we have certainly tasted in ground coffee. The most fashionable adulteration, and one even openly vaunted as economical and increasing the richness of the beverage, is with the root of the wild endive, or chicory. Roasted and ground, it closely resembles coffee. It contains, however, none of the virtues of the latter, and has nothing to recommend it but its cheapness. The leaves of the ash and the sloe are used to adulterate tea. They merely dilute its virtues, without adding any that are worth the exchange.
The coffee-tree is a native of Ethiopia or Abyssinia. Bruce tells us that the nomad tribes of that part of Africa carry with them, in crossing deserts on hostile expeditions, only balls of pulverized roasted coffee mixed with butter. One of these as large as a billiard-ball keeps them, they say, in strength and spirits during a whole day’s fatigue, better than a loaf of bread or a meal of meat. The Arabs gave the first written account of coffee, and first used it in the liquid form. Burton, in his "Anatomy of Melancholy," mentions it as early as 1621. "The Turks have a drink they call coffee, (for they use no wine,)—so named of a berry as black as soot, and as bitter, which they sip up as warm as they can suffer, because they find by experience that that kind of drink, so used, helpeth digestion and procureth alacrity.”
The coffee-tree reaches a height of from six to twelve foot, and when fully grown much resembles the apple-tree. Its leaves are green all the year; and in almost all seasons, blossoms and green and ripe fruit may be seen on the same tree at the same time. When the blossom falls, there springs from it a small fruit, green at first, red when ripe, and under its flesh, instead of a stone, is the bean or berry we call coffee. "It has but recently become known by Europeans that the leaves of the coffee-plant contain the same essential principle for which the berries are so much valued. In Sumatra, the natives scarcely use anything else. The leaves are cured like tea. And the tree will produce leaves over a much larger habitat than it will berries.” Should the decoction of the leaves prove as agreeable as that of the berry, we shall have a much cheaper coffee ; though it remains to be proved that they contain the essential oil as well as the caffeine.
The Coffees of Java, Ceylon, and Mocha are most esteemed. The quantities produced are quite limited. Manila and Arabia together give less than 4,500 tons. Cuba yields 5,000 tons per annum; St. Domingo, 18,000; Ceylon and the British East Indies, 16,000; Java, 60,000; and Brazil, 142,000. Yet, in 1774, a Franciscan friar, named Villaso, cultivated a single coffee-tree in the garden of the convent of San Antonio, in Brazil. In the estimates for 1853, we find that Great Britain consumes 17,500 tons; France, 21,500; Germany, (Zollverein), 58,000; and the United States, about 90,000 tons. It is Worth remarking how small is the comparative consumption of tea in France. The importation often for 1840 was only 264,000 kilogrammes (less than 600,000 pounds).
In Asia, coffee is drunk in a thick farinaceous mixture. With us the cup of coffee is valued by its clearness. We generally drink it with sugar and milk. The French with their meals use it as we do,—but after dinner, invariably without milk (café noir). And we would suggest to the nervous and the dyspeptic, who do not want to resign the luxury of coffee, or to whom its effects as an arrester of metamorphosis are beneficial, that when drunk on a full stomach its effects upon the nerves are much less felt than when taken fasting or with the meals.
In the consumption of tea the United States rank next to Great Britain. Tea is the chief import from China into this country. The tea-plant flourishes from the equator to the forty-fifth parallel of latitude; though it grows best between the twenty-third and the twenty-fifth parallels. Probably it can be successfully cultivated in our Southern States. Mr. Fortune considers that all varieties often are derived from the same plant. Other authorities say that there are two species, the green and the black,—Thea viridis and Thea Bohea. This point is yet unsettled. Tea is grown in small, shrublike plantations, resembling vineyards. As it is a national beverage, certain localities are as much valued for choice, varieties as are the famous vintage-hills and slopes of Southern France. The buds and the leaves are used; and there are three harvestings,—in February, April, and June. The young, unfolded buds of February furnish the "Youi" and “Soumlo,” or “Imperial Teas.” These are the delicate “Young Hysons” which we are supposed to buy sometimes, but most of which are consumed by the Mandarins. Souchong, Congo, and Bohea mark the three stages of increasing size and coarseness in the leaves. Black tea is of the lowest kind, with the largest leaves. In gathering the choicer varieties, we are told on credible authority that "each leaf is plucked separately ; the hands are gloved ; the gatherer must abstain from gross food, and bathe several times a day." Many differences in the flavor and color of green and black teas are produced by art. Mr. Fortune says of green tea, that “it has naturally no bloom on the leaf, and a much more natural color. It is dyed with Prussian blue and gypsum. Probably no bad effects are produced. There is no foundation for the suspicion that green tea owes its verdure to an inflorescence acquired from plates of copper on which it is curled or dried. The drying-pans are said to be invariably of sheet-iron.” We drink our tea with milk or sugar, or both, and always in warm infusion. In Russia, it is drunk cold,—in China, pure ; in Ava, it is used as a pickle preserved in oil.
It would be improper not to notice, finally, the moral effect of coffeeand teadrinking. How much resort to stronger stimulants these innocent beverages prevent can be judged only by the weakness of human nature and the vast consumption of both.