Taste of the Colonies Trio - A Sampling of Tea, Coffee and Cacao from the Colonial American Era In colonial times the pubs and coffee houses served ale, tea, coffee, and drinking chocolate. Plans for the Revolution were hatched over these tables. Tea, coffee, and cacao were exotic and expensive imports. Tea became a craze, but coffee was widely consumed and drinking chocolate was also common, especially among the colonies of Spain towards Mexico. Colonial Bohea tea, (pronounced “Boo-hee” - Ukers 510), was by far the largest tea import during colonial times. Sometimes called Bohea Souchong or Lapsang Bohea, the blend originated in China with trade to the British and Dutch East India Companies. It was so popular that the word bohea became the slang term for tea. The blend varied wildly, consisting of broken orange pekoe, pekoe, and souchong dumped in a pile and then sifted, typically the scrap tea of lower quality leaves, but was considered high quality by the colonists. Notes: Smoky, winey, warm. Lighter smoky flavor than lapsang souchong. Coffee had strong competition from wines, liquors, and imported teas. Consequently, coffee was not widely consumed among colonists until their agitation against King George arose due to the fateful tea tax, which is undoubtedly responsible for America becoming a nation of coffee drinkers instead of tea drinkers. Coffee was supplied to the American colonies by trade from the East Indies (Sumatra), and the West Indies (islands of Haiti and Jamaica). Cacao - Martha Washington enjoyed drinking cacao shell tea, which she made from roasted shells and sipped at breakfast. George Washington wrote to his agent, “She will, . . . thank you to get 20 Lbs of the shells of Cocoa nuts, if they can be had of the Chocolate makers." The shells are steeped like a tea, yielding a slightly bitter, full-bodied infusion with a chocolate aroma and flavor. Hand packaged by Oliver Pluff & Company in Charleston, South Carolina
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