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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1644

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HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

universal use beverages of identical effect, obtained from plants of entirely different species. Tea cannot be regarded as an article of food, for the nourishment it contains is that of the milk and sugar mixed with it, and no more. Theine acts directly on the nervous system, and it is for the sake of this action as a mild stimulant that tea is habitually consumed.

Chinese Tea.—The various names by which Chinese teas are sold in the British market are corruptions of Chinese words. There are about a dozen different kinds; but the principal are Bohea, Congou and Souchong, and signify respectively inferior, middling, and superior. Teas are often perfumed and flavoured with the leaves of different kinds of plants grown on purpose. Different tea-farms in China produce teas of various qualities, raised by skilful cultivation on various soils.

Chinese tea has frequently been adulterated in this country by the admixture of the dried leaves of certain plants. The leaves of the sloe, white thorn, ash, elder, and some others have been employed for this purpose, such as the leaves of the speedwell, wild germander, black currant, syringa, purple-spiked willow-herb, sweetbriar, and cherry tree. Some of these are harmless; others are to a certain degree poisonous, as, for example, the leaves of all the varieties of the plum and cherry tribe, to which the sloe belongs.

Coffee.—It appears that coffee was first introduced into England in 1652 by Daniel Edwards, a merchant, whose servant, Pasqua, a Greek, understood the art of roasting and preparing it. This servant, under the patronage of Edwards, established the first coffee-house in London, in George Yard, Lombard Street. Coffee was then sold at 4 or 5 guineas a pound, and a duty was soon afterwards laid upon it of 4d. a gallon when made into a beverage. In the course of two centuries, however, this berry, unknown originally as an article of food, except to some savage tribes on the confines of Abyssinia, has made its way through the whole of the civilized world. Mohammedans of all ranks drink coffee twice a day; it is in universal request in France, Germany, and the Continent generally, but the demand for it throughout the British Isles is daily decreasing; the consumption of coffee within the last forty years steadily declined to less than one-half. The approximate annual consumption of coffee per head of the population is about 13 ozs., as against 6 lbs. of tea per head.

Various Kinds of Coffee.—The Arabian is considered the best. It is grown chiefly in the districts of Aden and Mocha; whence the name of our Mocha coffee. Mocha coffee has a smaller and rounder bean than any other, and a more agreeable smell and taste. Very little, however, of the genuine Mocha coffee reaches this country. The next in reputation in quality is the Java and Ceylon coffee, and then the coffees of Bourbon and Martinique, and that of Berbice, a district of the colony of British Guiana. The Jamaica and St. Domingo coffees