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The Essence of Commodification: Caffeine dependencies in the early modern world.

In 1671 Philippe Sylvestre Dufour, a Lyon pharmacist, published a volume entitled De l'usage du cafe, du the, et du chocolate. This book brought together information circulating in Europe on three caffeine drinks that had all achieved widespread popularity on the continent over the previous thirty years; cacao, coffee and tea. The frontispiece of Dufour's treatise (Figure 1) shows us the triumvirate through the eyes of contemporary Europeans. On the left coffee, being consumed by a man in Middle Eastern garb, from a bowl without handles and a tall metal pot. In the center tea, consumed by a richly dressed man from the Far East, with a bowl without handles, and his squat Chinese teapot. Finally on the right cacao, consumed by a Native American man from a gourd mounted in silver. On the ground in front of him a chocolate pot with its typical horizontal handle, with a beater, or molinillo, for foaming the cacao lying on the ground beside it. All three of the consumers are male, each an exotic stereotype, and eac h bearing the gift of a novel beverage for Europe. (1)

Caffeine and theobromine are two naturally occurring alkaloids that are present in plants used to brew beverages in many cultures. At the end of the fourteenth century Europe was one of the few regions of the world where such drinks were entirely unknown. In the early seventeenth century this situation changed entirely as, according to Fernand-Braudel, "Europe, at the center of the innovations of the world, discovered three new drinks, stimulants and tonics, coffee, tea and chocolate." And yet, is discovery really the word we want here? Caffeine beverages have played an important role in historians' vision of a single world system, in which they provided dry, lightweight, high value commodities that could be transported from the peripheries to supply the people of Europe. These stimulants were an alternative to the traditional alcoholic beverages of medieval Europe, eventually entering the capitalist system as acceptable drinks for daytime consumption by the workforce. The sudden increase in popularity of the consumption of these beverages in Europe in the mid-seventeenth century parallels the rise of a capitalist world economy, in which both consumption and production were important forces behind the development of mass markets. As commodities in early modern Europe, Sidney Mintz has placed caffeine beverages as part of a larger suite of "drug foods" produced on colonial plantations, including sugar and tobacco. All were imported to Europe in sharply increasing quantities from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, in an "intimate and entangled" change in the way Europeans consumed such products. (2)

If, however, we accept that the people of Europe were not the only consumers in the early modern world, the picture becomes more complex. Coffee, tea and chocolate were not the only caffeine beverages available, and their eventual dominance of the European market is only part of complex regional variations in the origins, production, and consumption of caffeine on a world scale in the early modern period. The introduction of caffeine into Europe through several beverages provides a nuanced example of the complexities of colonialism, and the regional variation that occurred in the creation of a world market for caffeine products. For each of the caffeine beverages there is a unique history of the European encounter with a non-western drink, including not only the drink itself, but social signals as to its proper use. This is followed by European attempts to co-opt the regional market for the product, and then the eventual acquisition, or rejection, of the plant as part of the mercantile plantation system of ea rly modern Europe.

Cacao and the Early Spanish Empire

Chocolate, cocoa, or cacao (Theobroma cacao) was the first caffeine beverage encountered by Europeans in the expansion of empires. Cacao was present in the earliest parts of the colonial encounter, as Christopher Columbus, on his 1502 voyage, captured a Maya trading canoe at Guanaja Island, just off Honduras. Paddled by 25 men, the cargo of the canoe included cacao beans. Columbus described them later as the "nuts" which were used as money in New Spain. Even at the time of the encounter the Europeans knew the Maya held the crop in high esteem, because when they were brought on board Columbus' ship some of the beans spilled, and all the Maya began to gather them up frantically. (4)

With the conquest of the Aztec Empire twenty years later, the Spanish realized the true value of cacao in the region. The Aztec elite consumed cacao as a cold infusion. It was prepared in many ways, with the addition of a wide variety of other ingredients, including vanilla, chili peppers, herbs and flowers. The crop had been cultivated since the fifth century in Mesoamerica, and the Aztec Empire maintained large-scale production of cacao in several areas, the most important being along the Pacific coast in Soconusco in modern Mexico and Izalcos in modern El Salvador (Figure 2). It was a form of currency, and an important part of the trade networks of the Aztec. In the conquest of the Aztec elite by the Spanish we see Europe's first encounter with caffeine. The traditional anthropological view of colonialism is one of fragmentation and loss, with the introduction of Western goods destroying the culture of the conquered. And yet the entire construction of Western society was embedded in the colonial enterprise , and as such non-Western cultures contributed to it in many ways. The Aztec were no exception, and very soon after the conquest the Spanish conquerors had begun to be influenced by the conquered. (5)

At a banquet in the Great Plaza of Mexico City in 1538 the men stood in the plaza, where wine was served from fountains. The Spanish women looked on from the balconies, where they ate sweetmeats and drank wine, but also drank cacao "with its foam" from gold and silver vessels. Fifteen years after the conquest of the Aztecs the local Spanish elite had acquired the habit of drinking cacao, yet in a uniquely gendered way, through the consumption habits of the elite women of New Spain. Jose de Acosta noted in the 1580s that cacao continued to be associated with women, as in New Spain the Spanish men, but even more the Spanish women, were addicted to the "black chocolate". In this way women, rather than men, can be seen as the conduit for the entry of cacao into the elite consumption practices of the Spanish in the New World. (6)

The Spaniards also acquired aspects of the material culture of chocolate consumption from the Aztec nobility. The Nahuatl word xicalli was the term used for the small hemispherical cups which cacao was drunk from. This became jicara in Spanish, referring to any chocolate cup. Cacao was traditionally served with foam on it, and sixteenth century publications describe the technique of pouring between vessels to create the foam. In the 1570s a new piece of tableware was described. This was the molinillo, a utensil with a ribbed head attached to a straight handle (at bottom center in Figure 1). The molinillo was placed in the chocolate pot and agitated to form foam. Francisco Hernandez, physician to Phillip II of Spain, first described it after he came to Mexico to study medicinal plants. By the mid-sixteenth century cacao had acquired status as an elite beverage in New Spain, and a material culture and vocabulary had been developed or acquired to accompany it. As with many caffeine drinks, cacao was thus first i ntroduced to European palates in the daily life of the colony, and was popular there for some time before its introduction to the metropole. Far from being a sudden "discovery", it would be almost a century before the cacao that was so popular among Mexico City's elite would gain currency in London, Paris or Rome. (7)

The expansion of cacao plantations in the New World

The key feature in mercantile expansion of an agricultural commodity is the ability to control its production and distribution. When the Spanish conquered Mesoamerica in the 1520s they acquired large regions where cacao was being grown, much of it to be used as tribute in the complex political relations among local groups. Rather than imposing any European form of plantation agriculture, the Spanish left this indigenous Mesoamerican system of cacao production largely intact, relying on the existing organization of production and tribute. The entire Soconusco area became a Crown encomienda, with small-scale plots worked by individual families. The Spaniards recognized the cacao farms as a form of plantation, comparing them to the vineyards and olive groves of Spain. The product was recognized as a useful commodity for trade, because it could be stored dry and was easy to transport. (8)

The prehispanic systems of production could not, however, survive the colonial encounter. By the late sixteenth century this system was becoming overburdened. The deaths of a huge segment of the local population from European diseases depleted the farming workforce, and Spanish insistence on the intensification of farming practices on the cacao plots caused catastrophic drops in productivity. Traditional cacao production in regions such as Soconusco declined, a trend that continued throughout the seventeenth century. (9)

As Mesoamerican production in traditional areas declined, the vast market of New Spain needed new supplies. Cacao was not yet commercially viable in Europe, but its value in the Mesoamerican marketplace was huge. Entrepreneurs filled this gap with the founding of commercial cacao plantations in two entirely new regions; the Guayas Basin in what is now Ecuador, and the Caracas region in what is now Venezuela (Figure 2). These were the first plantations for the production of a caffeine crop set up deliberately by European colonizers anywhere in the world. Significantly this was done to supply New World, rather than European, market demand. An earlier generation of historians looking at colonial political economy characterized regions such as Latin America as peripheries, producing goods to be shipped out and consumed in Europe. Models of dependency and world systems implied a one-way flow from colony to metropolis. These models have now come to be critiqued by historians, looking toward colonies as societies wh ere goods were consumed as well as exported. Cacao provides a good example of this, with the initial impetus toward mercantile capitalism and a plantation economy coming from a crisis in the cacao supply for New Spain itself. (10)

Wild cacao grew in many parts of tropical America, including the coast of what is now Ecuador. It was here, in the basin of the Guayas River, that commercial cacao plantations were first developed by Spanish colonists to supplant Mesoamerican production. The beginnings of the Ecuadorian plantations are sketchy. Cacao may have been a garden crop in the region before the conquest, and there is some suggestion that it was being planted in Ecuador, and shipped from Guayaquil to Panama, by the 1570s. English corsairs captured Spanish ships entering port at Huatulco in the 1580s with a large cargo of cacao, presumably from Guayaquil. By the 1590s there is good evidence that the Guayas plantations were exporting their crop to New Spain. By the first decade of the seventeenth century Vazquez de Espinosa described the many cacao plantations along the Guayas River, and how "the planting of them has enriched many people and swollen their tithes and revenues". (11)

On the Caribbean coast of South America the Caracas region began producing cacao soon after Guayaquil, in a rival bid to supply New Spain. Exports began in the first decade of the seventeenth century, and by the 1620s Caracas was exporting 5 tonnes per year to New Spain. It is likely that these early exports were harvested from wild stands of cacao trees in the area. Caracas encomenderos used the profits from these sales to purchase African slaves. The slaves provided a key labor force for land clearance and tree planting, allowing the massive expansion of Caracas plantations in the l620s and l630s. Most of the successful Caracas cacao growers of the period had ties to Portugal, and to Portuguese slave traders. Caracas was a convenient first stop for overcrowded Portuguese slave ships from Africa, and slaves could be traded for cacao, which the traders carried on to New Spain for cash sales. (12)

The consumption of cacao in New Spain remained an important market throughout the colonial period, supplied largely by the Guayas and Caracas plantations. The Crown always frowned on trade between the Spanish viceroyalties, and for

several periods the Guayas trade with New Spain was prohibited completely. This caused some problems for Guayas merchants, but smuggling was rampant and illegal shipments of cacao avoided duties. This may have allowed the Guayas merchants to undercut their seventeenth century Caracas competitors in the New Spain market. Guayas production grew throughout the seventeenth century, and then remained steady at about 1200 to 1500 tonnes annually throughout most of the eighteenth century. (13)

As the cacao trade grew in the New World, the consumption of cacao became part of elite Spanish behavior in colonies well beyond New Spain. In Andean South America cacao consumption was popular amongst the colonial elite by the late seventeenth century. In the city of Cuenca, in the Andean highlands above Guayaquil, we see the first tablewares for the consumption of chocolate appear on the tables of the local elite in the late seventeenth century. These included coconut cups, molinillos, graters and jugs. (14)

The Bourbon administrative reforms in the Spanish New World colonies in the late eighteenth century dissolved many of the mercantilist prohibitions on inter-colonial trade. This served to greatly increase the export of Guayas Basin cacao to New Spain. From the 1780s until the first decade of the nineteenth century Guayas cacao dominated the market in New Spain, usurping Caracas and providing up to 75% of the cacao consumed in New Spain. The marketing of the product changed as local Guayas producers ended their reliance on church credit, and tied themselves to merchant houses in Lima and Mexico City. By the 1790s production had expanded greatly, and over half the Guayas crop was going to Spain, supplying the Old World market as well as the new. Cacao made up about half of the Kingdom of Quito's exports at the end of the colonial period. (15)

World price drops in the first decade of the nineteenth century combined with the Wars of Independence to reduce Caracas production, but Guayas continued to increase their production, reaching 6300 tonnes annually by the early 1820s. It was only with the collapse of Spanish imperial power in the l820s that Caracas and the Guayas Basin lost their predominance in cacao production for the world, when cacao was introduced as a plantation crop in West Africa. The supply of cacao to the colonial market in New Spain, which had been the initial impetus for converting cacao into a mercantile plantation crop, had thus remained a very significant market throughout the Spanish colonial period. (16)

The European encounter with coffee and tea

As opposed to the thousand-year history of cacao among Mesoamerican peoples, coffee (genus Coffea) had begun to be cultivated in Yemen (Figure 3) from wild sources in Ethiopia only in the mid-15th century. It was initially restricted to the Arab world, and popularized through Sufi religious practices, where it was used in all-night ceremonies emphasizing wakefulness and trance-like states. Coffee spread widely throughout the Arab world in the first century after its domestication. In the first decades of the sixteenth century it was introduced in Mecca and Cairo, and by 1555 it reached Istanbul via Syrian entrepreneurs. The drink was spread not by religious use, but through the new Arab social venue of the coffeehouse, where men would go to drink coffee and socialize. These institutions came with their own material culture, the coffee made in and served from pear-shaped metal pots, and poured into small clay or porcelain cups. By the 1560s there were over 600 coffeehouses in Istanbul alone. Some were luxuriou s, with gardens and fountains, while many were simple rooms off the street. Women were socially excluded from all of them. By the end of the seventeenth century the city of Cairo stood as the central coffee market for the Near East, with production of the crop remaining in the hands of Arab growers and merchants in Yemen and Eritrea. (17)

Thus, by the late sixteenth century coffee, and the institution of the coffeehouse, was on the doorstep of Europe. Unlike cacao, coffee was not introduced to Europe through colonial conquest, but instead via European visitors to Arab cities in the Near East. The Augsburg physician Leonhart Rauwoif gave Europe its earliest published description of coffee in 1582, from his travels in the region. (18)

In the first decade of the seventeenth century the Northern European countries began to form monopoly companies for trade with all parts of the Non-European world. The English East India Company (EIO) was founded in 1600, while in 1602 the Dutch created the rival Dutch East India Company (VOC). By 1616 Europeans began to involve themselves in the coffee trade, and organizations such as the VOC were using their established trade routes to exploit demand for the drink in the Near East and Asia. Both the VOC and EIC set up trading houses at the port of Mokha in Yemen (Figure 3). As with cacao, Europeans became involved in the trade of coffee regionally, as a mercantile venture in the Near East, well before the product was ever commercially exported to Europe. Thus it was not the desire to import coffee to the metropole, but rather the desire to exploit Near Eastern and Asian markets, that pushed European mercantile companies into the coffee trade. This was not a European innovation, but more accurately a Europea n takeover of existing Arab trade in the product. (19)

At the same time that European mercantile companies were encompassing the Near Eastern coffee trade they were making their presence felt in Asia. One of the products they encountered was tea (Camellia sinensis), first described by Europeans in the late sixteenth century by missionaries to China. Tea was grown in China in the sixteenth century on family plots in Fujian and Jiangxi provinces, to supply a huge regional market. European missionaries to China in the late sixteenth century described the elaborate consumption rituals of tea in China, served from teapots into beautiful cups, a material culture greatly admired by the Europeans who first saw these rituals. (20)

Northern European trade presence in Asia was soon substantial. As with coffee, European mercantile companies initially took advantage of local trade patterns rather than attempting commercial export of tea to Europe. By 1607 the VOC was shipping tea from Macao to Bantam, reaping profits from the internal Asian tea trade. As with cacao in New Spain and coffee in the Near East, the Europeans took on the financial advantages of controlling a regional commodity trade before the commodity began to be imported into Europe. It has been suggested that Dutch servants at the VOC factory at Batavia (Jakarta) were the first Europeans who grew to like tea for their personal consumption, and by 1610 the VOC made the first small tea shipments to Europe through Amsterdam. (21)

Tea was similar to coffee and cacao in that European access to the product was initially extremely limited, with no real controls over its production or availability. From the beginnings of the tea trade with the Chinese around 1610, until the London Company gained access to the port of Canton in 1699, Europeans were not even able to purchase the product directly on the Chinese mainland. The Dutch maintained trade ties with China through their colony on Java, while other European powers depended on good relations with Asian powers in order to maintain trading facilities. Up until the 1680s neither the Dutch nor the English had strong trade ties with China, and tea exports remained small-scale.

Yerba mate and the Jesuits

Not all the caffeine drinks encountered in the course of European colonial expansion came to be accepted for consumption in Europe. In the Americas there were several plants besides cacao that contained caffeine and were known to the indigenous inhabitants, none of which ever reached commercial distribution in Europe. The most economically important of these exclusively New World caffeine drinks was yerba mate. This is a tea made from the leaves of a holly (Ilex paraguariensis) harvested in prehispanic times along the Parana-Paraguay river system (Figure 2).

Early Spanish settlers along this river system had taken up the pre-Columbian practice of drinking wild yerba mate as a tea. As with cacao, they acquired the habit from the people they had conquered. Unlike cacao and coffee, yerba mate was not a domestic plant when first encountered by Europeans. Instead it was harvested from wild stands. Initial Spanish colonization of the Parana-Paraguay system was tied closely to Jesuit missionization efforts. Jesuit policy encouraged large-scale plantation agriculture on the seventeenth century South American missions, as a method of using indigenous labor to produce marketable commodities, and make the missions both self-sufficient and profitable. The Jesuits realized the great economic potential of yerba mate, and from the 1650s to 1670s successfully founded yerba mate plantations at their missions. (22)

When Europeans arrived in the Parana-Paraguay there was no existing market for yerba mate beyond the local region. With the domestication of the plant as a plantation crop the Jesuits also contributed to the creation of a commercial market for it. By 1700 the drink was popular throughout the Andes and the Rio de la Plata. As with cacao, yerba mate was developed as a plantation crop to serve a consumer market within the colonies, rather than for shipment to Europe. The product was shipped down the Parana-Paraguay system, then either to Santa Fe, where it was hauled overland to Chile, Upper Peru, and Lima or continued by river to markets in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. (23)

Yerba mate was never introduced to the European market--perhaps because it only gained commercial prominence in Spanish America after 1700, long after tea, coffee and cacao had become available in Europe. The expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish colonies in 1767 ended the cultivation of yerba mate on the mission plantations. The European Enlightenment criticism of the Jesuits that led to their expulsion was in itself partly based on their successful plantation economies worldwide. When they were expelled from all Spanish dominions their missions on the Parana-Paraguay were abandoned. This caused huge changes in yerba mate production, as the missions were transferred into royal and private hands. Massive exploitation and near-slavery of the local Guarani population led to their abandonment of the missions, and the temporary end of yerba mate as a plantation crop. (24)

It was fairly simple for commercial growers to transplant cacao and coffee to new plantations, but yerba mate proved to be a finicky crop. Spaniards apart from the Jesuits had little success in growing it, so production after the Jesuit expulsion came largely from the harvest of wild stands in Paraguay. The town of Concepcion, founded in 1773, became the northern mate port, with land access to the stands of wild plants in the hinterland. Yerba mate was the only caffeine crop ever harvested commercially from wild stands in large quantities. Harvesting of the plant was a speculative enterprise, with Indian debt peons spending months in the forest harvesting, drying and bailing the crop. Many members of these work parties died. (25)

The crop was sold regionally in South America, never gaining European markets. The Bourbon reforms massively increased the volume of the yerba mate trade in South America, as it did with the cacao trade from the Guayas region. The creation of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata in 1776 meant that the merchants of Buenos Aires took control of both the yerba mate production zones in Paraguay, and one of the major consumer markets, in Alto Peru. Free trade and tax reforms in 1778 and 1780 made exports far more profitable. (26)

By the 1770s yerba mate was a popular social drink throughout the Andes, served at all hours of the day. The tea (or yerba) was traditionally drunk from a gourd (or mate), sipped through a straw known as a bombilla. By the 1770s this market had penetrated as far north as Cuenca, where the traditional gourd with silver straw began to appear on elite tables in this tertiary northern Andean city. Several examples of mate gourds mounted in silver with a silver straw have been encountered in late eighteenth century inventories from Cuenca. There was a female association with this form of Andean consumption, a contemporary observer stating that "... there is no house, rich or poor, where there is nor always mate on the table, and it is nothing short of amazing to see the luxury spent by women on mate utensils." The gendered nature of the consumption of caffeine drinks in the early modern world has not been extensively studied outside Europe, but in the case of yerba mate in the Andes the association is with female, and domestic, consumption. (27)

Yerba mate thus provides us with an example of a caffeine beverage crop with a unique historical trajectory. Developed as a plantation crop by the Jesuits to supply a South American market, it reverted to a system of commercial harvesting of wild plants after the Jesuit expulsion. The difficult transplantation of the wild plants meant that domestic plantations were not easily founded, and the wild plant harvest remained important for much of the commercial history of yerba mate. This situation continued until the 1890s, when large yerba mate plantations were successfully developed in the southern Mato Grosso to serve the modern regional market. (28)

Other American caffeine plants

The second caffeine plant exploited by the Jesuits in South America was Ilex guayusa. Caffeine is present in this holly, native to the Upper Amazon from Colombia south into northern Peru. It was in use over 1500 years ago in the Bolivian highlands, and was traded before the conquest well beyond its natural range. Jesuit missions were founded in the Western Amazon in the 1640s, and by the mid-eighteenth century both Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries in the Maynas and Putumayo basins of the Western Amazon were familiar with the use of guayusa. It was taken as a tea by Amazonian native groups, a custom which the missionaries adopted themselves.

The Jesuits commercialized guayusa on a local scale, planting it in mission gardens, and trading it into highland Andean markets such as Quito. Guayusa did not gain the general market that yerba mate received, and when the Jesuits were removed from South America in the 1760s guayusa became a product grown and used largely by Native people. In the 1850s an English botanist working in Ecuador suggested that the crop could be commercialized as a tea for export to Europe, but the plan was never taken up. Thus guayusa was never marketed in Europe, and was not taken up as a commercial crop even regionally in South America after the Jesuit expulsion, although it is available for sale up to the present in Ecuadorian village markets. (29)

Two Amazonian lianas that can be used to prepare beverages provide examples of caffeine beverages that remained entirely outside the boundaries of European mercantilism. The first, Paullinia yoco, is native to southwestern Colombia. Its bark is used by Native Amazonians to prepare a cold infusion, and the plant has never been commercialized. A second liana, Paullinia cupana, is native to the Brazilian Amazon, and has the highest caffeine content in the plant world. Europeans have known of its use by Native Amazonians since the late eighteenth century, but it was not exploited commercially until the turn of the twentieth century, when it began to be used as an ingredient in bottled sodas in Brazil. A range of South American caffeine plants were thus used as drinks by Native people before the Spanish conquest. The reasons that these crops did not become part of European consumption patterns likely relate to timing, as Europeans encountered these plants later than they encountered cacao, coffee and tea. The plan ts themselves may also have been poorly suited to early modern plantation agricultural techniques. (30)

Caffeine enters Europe

In the middle of the seventeenth century cacao, coffee and tea all gained widespread, and quite sudden, popularity throughout Europe. The timing of this introduction has more to do with patterns of European consumption than it does with the various ways these crops were encountered by Europeans through colonial expansion. To the anthropologist of consumption the acquisition of new foodstuffs is not just a matter of subsistence, and goes beyond a simple form of competitive display. Instead we can look a the early modern consumption of caffeine drinks in Europe as a way of visibly demonstrating new cultural categories, and stabilizing these categories through everyday practices like drinking.

Europe in the seventeenth century was a society in transition, and the acceptance of commercial caffeine drinks was part of that transition. Part of this was due to Renaissance ambiguity over social hierarchies. The idea of fashion as a means of social discrimination was tied to the creation of a market for many exotic luxuries, imported through overseas trade and appealing to wider and wider segments of the European elite through time. (31)

In a culture drinks give structure to social life, acting to label expected forms of behavior. To drink a beverage is to carry out a small ritual, an act that momentarily constructs a slightly more bearable, intelligible world from the chaos that threatens at all times. The European Renaissance population was increasingly urbanized and divorced from traditional folk remedies, allowing caffeine beverages to be introduced as exotic medicinals. The consumption of caffeine drinks soon became more than medicinal, as Europeans created rituals and places of consumption modeled distantly on both the tea rituals of China and the coffeehouses of the Arab world. The pleasant stimulant effect of caffeine, and its ability to stifle hunger, were added bonuses. The caffeine drinks served at European tables were an essential part of the demonstration of colonialism, a visible reminder of the possession of the foreign. (32)

The Iberian origins of cacao consumption

In 1544, twenty years after the Spanish conquest of Mesoamerica and several decades before coffee or tea were known in Europe, a Kekchi Maya delegation introduced cacao to the court of Phillip II of Spain. The Hapsburg court in Spain thus took up cacao directly from the Mesoamerican elites that they had conquered. Mesoamerican methods of preparing the drink were also imported to Spain in modified form, in which the drink was made by pulverizing the dried beans and boiling them in water with vanilla, cinnamon, or chili peppers. In Spain it was served from copper pots with straight wooden handles, which remained popular throughout the Spanish Baroque. The first legal commercial shipment of cacao to Europe was sent from Veracruz to Seville in 1585, and from this date until the 1630s we see a Spanish monopoly on cacao entering Europe, a product which was largely for consumption in Iberia. The Spanish were thus consuming cacao in commercial quantities several decades before other caffeine beverages were introduced in Europe.

From Iberia cacao began to spread to other parts of Europe, and by the 1620s cacao drinking had spread to Austrian monasteries, where it caused controversy. Cacao was introduced to neighboring France in the 1640s as a medicinal, but it was not until later that it began to emerge from the Spanish Hapsburg court as a fashion in other parts of Europe, starting with Tuscany in the 1660s. By the 1690s it was a novel product in the British colonies of North America. Samuel Sewall tried it as a novelty in Massachusetts in 1697. (33)

With an increasing market for cacao throughout Europe the imperial powers all attempted to gain access to cacao plants and to the trade routes for the crop, in order to break the Spanish monopoly. Within thirty years all the major European powers had acquired the means to produce cacao in the Caribbean. In 1634 the Dutch captured the island of Curacao, and the Spanish monopoly on cacao was broken. The Dutch bought contraband cacao from Caracas producers, and shipped it to Amsterdam, which soon became the main supplier of cacao to Europe, including Spain itself. By the late seventeenth century about half of Caracas' production was probably going illegally to the Dutch on Curacao. The Dutch realized that control of production would help their enterprise, and in 1702 they began planting cacao in Surinam. By the 1730s it was a commercially significant crop in the Dutch colony. (34)

Attempts by the English and French to acquire cacao initially met with little success. The English captured Jamaica in 1655 and with it the cacao plantations that the Spanish had planted. A short-lived period of Jamaican exports to England, amounting to about 85 tonnes per year, ended in 1670, when a disease destroyed trees throughout the island. The French planted cacao on the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe in the 1660s, and by the early eighteenth century they were producing over 600 tonnes per year, and supplying most of the domestic needs of France. This trade largely ended in 1727 when an earthquake destroyed many of the trees. The Portuguese commercialized Amazonian cacao in the 1670s, but volumes were small, and largely from wild trees. Cacao grew to become the dominant export crop from the Portuguese Amazon by the 1730s. With the devastation of the Native population by smallpox and measles, the Portuguese began to replace the labor force with African slaves. (35)

By the eighteenth century all the European countries were consuming cacao, but Spain had by far the highest consumption levels of cacao in Europe. Spain did not re-export its cacao imports, in contrast to England, where 3/4 of cacao imports in the late eighteenth century were re-exported to other countries, much of them to Spain. A great deal of the cacao consumed in eighteenth century Europe came from Caracas. The Caracas cacao trade to Europe in the early eighteenth century was an Atlantic enterprise, involving a complex web of legal and illegal intercolonial relationships. The British South Sea Company supplied Caracas with the slaves required to maintain this production, while the Dutch maintained control of the European market for the cacao. In 1728 Spain founded the Caracas Company to combat this contraband and to control exports to Spain from the region. The Company was successful in taking control of the supply of cacao away from the Dutch. Most of the cacao entering Spain from the 1730s to the 1780s came via Caracas Company ships docking at Cadiz. (36)

The role of gender in eighteenth century Spanish cacao consumption is complex. An early eighteenth century illustration of a chocolate party in Valencia shows all the drinkers and servers to be male, yet late eighteenth century Madrid tertulias, or evening gatherings, were hosted by females, who served cacao, cakes and confectioneries, with both sexes in attendance. Unlike the gendered differences between tea and coffee in eighteenth century northern Europe, it would seem that cacao in eighteenth century Spain was used in a variety of social occasions, public and private, male and female. (37)

Coffee: The Lure of the Exotic

The first commercial quantities of coffee to enter Europe came through Venice in 1640, sixty years after cacao was commercialized in Spain. At first coffee was seen as medicinal, and was served by those who had visited Constantinople and acquired a taste for it. Soon, however, the social institution of the coffeehouse, modeled on Arab practices, began to appear in Europe. Unlike cacao, coffee was introduced to Europe by independent merchants, many of them immigrants from the Near East or eastern Europe. In England a coffeehouse opened in Oxford in 1650, run by "Levantine" merchants. Near Eastern immigrants in Paris opened the first coffeehouses there, and by the 1660s being an "Armenian" in Paris was equivalent to being a coffee seller. Not only the drink itself, but also the social institution of the coffeehouse was introduced to the large cities of Europe. These establishments were described as small shops reeking of tobacco smoke. By 1671 there were several coffeehouses in Paris, and the 1669 diplomatic vi sit of Suleiman Aga Mutaferraca had popularized the drink among the Paris elite. Thus the initial coffeehouses in Europe were modeled on those of the Near East, as male institutions frequented by various social classes. (38)

Coffeehouses opened all over Europe in the 1640 to 1660 period, but in the latter part of the seventeenth century their character began to change. In Paris Francesco Procopio Coltelli opened the Cafe Procope in 1686. When the French Comedy opened across the street, the Procope gained a reputation as the gathering-place for authors, playwrights and actors. No longer a small, smoky, "Armenian" coffeehouse, the Procope maintained an air of the exotic in its "Arab" decor and waiters in "Eastern garb", who served coffee in porcelain cups. (39)

In England the number of coffeehouses grew into the thousands by the late seventeenth century. It became an institution that replaced the alehouse as a place for men to meet to discuss business and politics. Coffeehouses became a focus of an emerging bourgeois class of urban professionals, and the caffeine beverages served were associated with sobriety and virtue. Men of all social classes were welcome in the coffeehouses, although women were not. Rules were often posted against swearing, gambling, and toasting one's health, thus further distinguishing coffeehouses from taverns. The coffeehouse became the place to gather news of use to merchants and other professionals, and particular coffeehouses became synonymous with certain professions. London coffeehouses were the birthplaces of such institutions as Lloyd's Insurance and the London Stock Exchange. (40)

From its European introduction in the 1640s up until the first decade of the eighteenth century all coffee production remained in the hands of Arab growers in Yemen and Eritrea. The English and Dutch mercantile companies controlled the purchasing of the product and its importation into Europe, shifting the initial Arab-controlled Mediterranean trade to a seaborne European-controlled trade around the Cape of Good Hope. The VOC brought their first major coffee shipment into Amsterdam in 1661. The Levant Company controlled coffee imports into England in the seventeenth century, bringing loads via the Red Sea from Yemen, and then overland to Mediterranean ports. The EIC, in contrast, began to purchase coffee in 1669 at the port of Surat in India, shipped there from Mokha by Arab traders. By the year 1700 both the VOC and the EIC had established direct trade for coffee at the port of Mokha. The EIC decided that Egyptian instability threatened the Mediterranean route to Europe, and by 1710 they were shipping coffee from Mokha around the Cape of Good Hope to European ports, entirely avoiding the Near Eastern trade. (41)

With increasing European consumption came a strong desire on the part of mercantile companies to control the coffee production as well as its trade. Wild fluctuation in coffee prices at Mokha further encouraged this desire. Coffee plants proved relatively easy to transplant, and the Dutch, French and English all began plantations in the early eighteenth century. The VOC planted on Java in 1707 and by 1712 the first Java crop reached Amsterdam. At the same time the Dutch planted in Surinam, introducing coffee to the Caribbean region.42

The French planted coffee on Reunion, in the Indian Ocean, in 1715, and on Bourbon in the Caribbean in the same year. Planting followed on Martinique in 1722, and from there the Jesuits transplanted coffee to the French colonies of Guadeloupe and to St. Domingue (modern Haiti). The British followed in 1728 with coffee plantings on Jamaica and Montserratt. In 1732 the Portuguese began to plant coffee in Brazil, and in 1748 the Spanish founded plantations on Cuba. Thus over a forty year period from 1710 to 1750 the crop was wrested from its Arab production monopoly, and plantations were begun worldwide under all of the major colonial European powers. This rapid spread of coffee plantations in the colonies of all the European powers contrasts with cacao, which remained largely a product of the Spanish New World for much of its history. (43)

After 1750 worldwide coffee production rose dramatically, reaching 90000 tonnes by 1820. Most of this expansion was in South America and the Caribbean. Coffee planting was introduced to the Caracas region in the late eighteenth century, but it was not until the wars of independence had destroyed the cacao economy that coffee took over the Venezuelan commodity market, with British merchants controlling the planting of coffee in the newly independent nation. French plantation owners on Haiti fled the slave revolt of 1800, and many moved to Cuba, setting up new coffee plantations. By the 1820s, however, Brazil was producing 45 000 tonnes of coffee annually, a figure which grew even higher with the beginnings of railway transport in Brazil, leading to massive late nineteenth century expansion of Brazilian production. (44)

Tea in Europe

Chinese tea gained popularity in European markets in the same time period as coffee rose to dominance. The VOC is credited with importing the first shipment of tea to Europe, which arrived in Amsterdam in 1610. This trade became regularized by the 1640s, with Chinese junks bringing the product to Batavia (modern Jakarta), where it was purchased by the Dutch and shipped by them to Holland. In the 1650s the use of tea followed coffee in its spread through northern Europe, with quantities imported into England and France in the 1650s, and a London coffeehouse advertising tea in 1658 as a new product. (45)

The key to expanding the importation of tea to Europe was a mercantile relationship with China. In 1684 the VOC acquired tea shrubs, and attempted to circumvent China by planting their own tea on Java. Unlike coffee the effort was unsuccessful, and it would not be until the mid-nineteenth century that tea would be grown on plantations outside China. The port of Canton became the key element in the tea trade, and the London Company gained the first direct access to Canton in 1699. The EIC gained direct access to the port in 1713, and the VOC followed in 1729. The European trading houses in Canton were built outside the city walls at the quayside, and Europeans were not allowed within the city. The merchant guilds of Canton controlled all trade with the European merchants, and the movement of Europeans was severely restricted. From 1680 onwards the European demand for tea grew, and imports began to steadily increase. With increasing access to Canton after 1700 the trade in tea to Europe grew strongly. The stead y increase in tea exports to Europe can be seen in the combined trade of the VOC and EIC from Canton, which went from 180 tonnes in 1720 to 360 tonnes in 1740, and 720 tonnes in 1765. (46)

Over this period tea went from being an occasional drink of the European elite, to a mass commodity consumed in both Europe and North America. England in particular increased tea imports steadily, and by 1785 tea imports to England were double those for coffee by weight, with most of the coffee imported to England re-exported to other European countries. This does not even include the smuggling trade in tea into England in the eighteenth century, which was very large. (47)

The Chinese monopoly on production continued throughout the eighteenth century. By the late seventeenth century cacao was grown in several European colonies beyond its Spanish colonial points of origin, and coffee had been planted in many European colonies by the 1720s. It would be another hundred years, however, until the Chinese lost their monopoly on tea production, first when the Dutch successfully planted tea on Java in the 1830s, followed by the first English tea plantations in India in the 1850s. (48)

The cultural aspects of the introduction of tea to Europe contrasted with those of cacao and coffee. Tea's particular popularity in Europe became associated with "civilizing" tendencies, and with the feminine. It was also associated with the domestic, in contrast to the male, and very public, associations of coffee and coffeehouses. Tea gardens and teahouses as public institutions gained popularity in England in the 1690s, and contrasted with coffeehouses in that they were open to women as well as men. The most famous of these was the Golden Lion, opened by the Twinings company in London in 1706, and specifically geared towards social gatherings of women. Most tea in eighteenth century England was, however, consumed in the home. (49)

The tea ceremony became strongly associated with elite femininity in northern Europe, and by the 1740s afternoon tea was an important meal in England, the Netherlands, and English America, reflecting the "respectability" of a household. The senior female in the house presided over the ritual, which was an important occasion for reinforcing family relationships and teaching polite behavior to children. The ritual emphasized and reinforced the managerial role of the elite woman within the domestic sphere. The tea ritual can be seen as one of the symbols of the northern European shift from a status system based on gentility, where birth was the key to elite status, to one of respectability, where moderation, self-control, and domestic order were important hallmarks of the bourgeoisie. (50)

The symbolism of femininity blended with the idea of tea as an "Asiatic" product, associated in the colonial European mind with the effeminate, idle and wanton. Taking tea in the domestic setting was frequently an all female social occasion, and women were seen to be participating in gossip at the tea table, a subversive activity that could lead to the cultivation of submissive husbands. There was a concern that men who were taking tea were becoming feminized in their habits. It was believed that this could lead to a weakening of England's military preparedness, an idea that became tied to the mercantilist economic belief that the purchase of luxury imports like tea was a drain on the national economy. The habit of elite women to gossip over tea was seen as generally harmless, but working-class women who drank tea came in for harsher criticism, as they were seen to be relaxing rather than working, and spending scarce family resources on an unnecessary luxury. (51)

Tablewares and paraphernalia of the caffeine revolution

Caffeine drinks were accompanied in the European consumer revolution by a host of material items designed as utensils for their consumption. As with the caffeine crops themselves, these utensils were co-opted by Western cultures from their original contexts, and re-worked into table services reflecting "polite" European habits.

China provided the porcelain that became associated with the consumption of caffeine beverages. As with tea, the trade in porcelains from China was strictly controlled by the Chinese, and mainly occurred through shipment of porcelain to European mercantile outposts in Asia. Medieval Europeans had known Chinese porcelain from the overland trade through the Near East, but it was a European rarity. By the 1530s the Portuguese had begun to change this, shipping porcelain to Europe from Macao, long before tea was known in Europe. The Spanish Manila galleon trade allowed porcelain traded by the Chinese at Manila to be shipped to Mesoamerica and Spain from the l570s onward. The porcelain jicara, or tall flaring cup, soon became the elite Iberian standard for chocolate consumption in New Spain. The consumption of porcelain in Europe increased markedly after the Dutch captured a Portuguese ship loaded with porcelain and auctioned it in Holland. By 1619 the Dutch at Batavia began to trade with Chinese junks for porcela in. By 1636 Batavia was exporting 260,000 pieces annually. Porcelain had become strongly associated with gentility, civility, and caffeine drinks in European minds. (52)

Although its initial European popularity was Iberian, porcelain did eventually become associated with all European caffeine beverages, both through admiration of the Chinese tea ritual, and imitation of the Arab coffeehouse, where Chinese porcelain cups were standard. A 1674 woodcut of an English coffeehouse may be the earliest extant representation of such an establishment in Europe. It shows men drinking from porcelain cups without handles, and coffee being served from a metal or earthenware jug. A 1710 print shows coffeepots with long straight spouts, and small annular porcelain bowls as cups. In both cases the European coffeehouse had a material culture emulating that of Arab coffeehouses of the time. (53)

The earliest manifestation of caffeine drinking in Europe came largely through the coffeehouse, but soon people began to consume the drinks at home, and an associated group of tablewares came into being. Roughly emulating the pots and cups of both the Arab coffeehouse and the Chinese tea ritual, European caffeine tablewares became increasingly popular in Northern European households from the 1690s to 1720s, initially in elite households, but spreading to houses of lesser means as the drinks became more popular. The service typically included serving pots, slop bowl, covered sugar, creamer, tea caddy and spoon tray all of silver. Serving pots for coffee retained the tall tapered look of their Arab counterparts, while tea pots retained the squat, rotund shape initially seen in China. Cacao pots, reflecting their Mesoamerican and Iberian origins, could be distinguished by their horizontal handle (Figure 1). Cups were made of imported porcelain, and would have provided a striking contrast to the rest of European tablewares at the time, which consisted of silver, pewter and earthenware pieces. Teacups in Europe in the early eighteenth century were wide annular-based vessels without handles, while chocolate cups were taller and thinner, with flaring rims and usually handles. Coffee cups, although identical in their squat shape to teacups, were generally larger. (54)

Porcelain cups became standard, and as with tea, their importation was in the hands of the mercantile companies that traded in Asia. In 1696 the EIC ship Dorothy delivered 773 "chocolett cupps with handles" to London, along with other Chinese export porcelain. The earliest EIC printed catalogue, from 1704, shows chocolate cups and teacups, both with saucers. As with the European acquisition of caffeine plants in order to set up their own plantations, Europeans worked hard to emulate the properties of Chinese porcelain. After the 1750s the creation of European china factories such as that of Wedgwood provided a domestic European product to replace porcelain in an existing consumer market. (55)

Cosmopolitanism and the end of caffeine regionalism

At the end of the eighteenth century the worldwide consumption of caffeine beverages changed considerably, reflecting the end of many of the mercantilist traditions in both caffeine production and consumption. Much of this was related to the increasing dominance of coffee and tea on the world market. Coffee and tea had become associated with Northern Europe, and with a form of modern cosmopolitanism. In Spain, with its long tradition of cacao consumption, this change is very visible. In the 1770s the Conde de Campomanes expressed the idea that drinking coffee and tea at breakfast, rather than the usual cacao, would bring Spain a more dignified position among modern nations. Coffeehouses became popular in Madrid in the late eighteenth century. (56)

The production of caffeine became truly worldwide in the early to mid nineteenth century. The planting of coffee in both hemispheres by the early eighteenth century, cacao in Africa in the 1820s, and finally tea in Java and India in the 1830-50 period ended the association of the three main caffeine crops with their original production areas. They had been turned into plantation crops on a global scale.

The shift can also be seen in the consumption of caffeine in areas beyond Europe, with South America providing one example. At the end of the eighteenth century yerba mate dominated regional Andean caffeine consumption, despite being completely absent in Europe. The material culture and etiquette of yerba mate consumption, with its gourd worked in silver and silver straw, are very different to those of European caffeine drinks. The gourd was traditionally passed around a group, with one straw shared by all. Up to the late eighteenth century in Chile and Argentina elite families drank yerba mate as the social beverage of choice, although a European visitor noted that the habit was unpleasant because the silver tube was very hot on the lips. In the 1790s families began to serve coffee, which replaced the colonial habit of yerba mate. After independence in the 1820s the habit of taking coffee grew. An influx of foreigners, who detested the traditional sharing of the yerba mate gourd, labeled it a rude and uncivi lized drink. By the 1820s only the "older generation" of Chileans drank mate, while young people drank the more modern Chinese tea, or coffee. The institution of the public coffeehouse or cafe spread to South America in the late eighteenth century, and as in Europe it became associated with male social intercourse and a certain element of rebelliousness. In 1791 the main periodical in Lima denounced the cafe as a factious institution, likely to promote social disturbance. The writers yearned for an earlier time when men simply drank yerba mate in their homes. In Chile cafes became popular in the 1820s, and again followed a European model as a male institution of the elite and middle classes, (57)

Such a shift is symbolic of the difficult issues of identity in the emerging South American nations, as the consumption of local goods, which could be seen as symbolic of national identity, was largely abandoned. Regional elites preferred more 'cosmopolitan" goods like coffee and tea, signaling participation in the "world order of nations". Ironically both the yerba mate and coffee consumed in early nineteenth century South America came largely from the Brazilian Amazon, yet one was a symbol of the urban and modern, while the other was seen as rural and lower class. (58)


Caffeine beverages were unknown in Europe before sixteenth century colonizing efforts, but their "discovery" and introduction to the European table was not a rapid and one-sided effort. The ideas, the tablewares, the institutions, and the crops themselves were all non-European in origin, yet were co-opted into a unified vision of a European mercantile world. All caffeine drinks came to Europeans embedded within the cultural practices of the non-Europeans who were using them. They were introduced to Europeans in a complex interweaving of plantation economics, cultural stereotyping and gendered social habits, in which the conversion of these drinks into mercantile commodities was controlled by a syncretism between Europe and the non-western world. None fits easily into Braudel's vision that Europe was "the center of the innovations of the world".

The caffeine drinks became part of the seventeenth-century European consumer market for tropical "drug foods" like sugar and tobacco. Coffee, tea and chocolate were, however, different from sugar and tobacco in the history of their introduction as commodities. The caffeine drinks were entirely unknown in Europe prior to the 1500s, whereas sugar had been a plantation crop in the Mediterranean for centuries.

Tobacco was domesticated in the Americas, and, like the caffeine drinks, tobacco was unknown in medieval Europe. Unlike the caffeine drinks, tobacco transplanted easily to most climates. Spread rapidly by early modern European colonialism, by the year 1630 tobacco was grown and consumed in Europe, Africa, India, China, Japan and Southeast Asia. The ease of transplantation of tobacco stands in stark contrast to the caffeine crops. (59)

Caffeine comes to us not from a variety of "timeless" traditional cultures on the periphery, but from a dynamic history of interaction with cultures that struggled in complex relation to increasing European power. Non-European societies were not 'changeless" within the colonial encounter, acting as victims in the European search for markets. Instead an overview of the role of caffeine beverages in the early modern world leads us to the conclusion that each region where such beverages were used prior to colonization had a unique trajectory in its interaction with European colonizers, and in the way that traditional caffeine drinks became commodified.

As we have seen, cacao was popularized in Iberia in the late 1580s, perhaps 70 years before tea or coffee became popular items of consumption in Europe. The initial mercantile plantations for cacao, in the Guayas and Caracas regions of South America, were put in place to supply a market in New Spain rather than the European market itself. The drink came to Iberia well after it had been accepted by the elite of New Spain as a social drink, inherited directly from the previous Aztec rulers of the region.

Coffee entered Europe as a commercial product in the 1640s, through a European consciousness of the social venue of the Arab coffeehouse. The association of the coffeehouse as a male social institution was imported to Europe from the Arab world along with the drink itself, and had a lasting effect. In contrast to cacao, the production of coffee remained outside European control until well after its introduction as a mercantile commodity in Europe, yet coffee was easily transplanted. By 1715 European colonial coffee plantations had been installed in several regions of the world, ending Arab control of coffee production for the European market.

Tea was introduced commercially in Europe ten or twenty years after coffee, initially through Holland and then England. The plant is difficult to grow, and European efforts to found their own tea plantations were unsuccessful, leaving China as the sole producer of the product until the mid-nineteenth century. Unlike coffee, tea in northern Europe gained an association with the feminine and the domestic, and the tea ritual became an important part of northern European bourgeois social life.

It is important that we do not restrict our vision to Europe, however, and the study of other regions as early modern consumers gives us a different view. In Andean South America, for instance, the introduction of caffeine beverages was very different from that in Europe at the same time periods. Neither cacao nor yerba mate was native to the Andean highlands, nor were they consumed there prior to the conquest. Both became popular among local colonial elites, cacao in the late seventeenth century and yerba mate in the late eighteenth. These were the imports of an elite anxious to acquire symbols of their class through the serving of exotic caffeine beverages.

The three major world caffeine drinks, coffee, tea and cacao, have become standards in western society, and yet consumption of other products, such as yerba mate and guarana, have remained regionally important. The consumption of caffeine drinks, as with all food and drink, is culturally contingent, and related to roles of gender, national identity, and status within society. Caffeine became an important ingredient in European expansion in the early modern world, but all caffeine was not equal, and the co-opting of caffeine into modern world consumption patterns was a complex process of cultural exchanges in many regions.

Ross W. Jamieson, "The Essence of Commodification: Caffeine Dependencies in the Early Modern World"

Caffeine drinks were unknown in Europe prior to the 16th century expansion of European colonial powers. Coffee, tea and cacao were the three caffeine commodities which, by the late 17th century, dominated European caffeine consumption habits. World systems models of mercantile expansion have emphasized European consumption as a driving force behind the development of plantation economies. The process by which these drinks gained prominence, however, was initially centred on regional production and consumption in the colonies themselves. The history of other caffeine beverages such as guayusa and yerba mate in South America provides a wider view. Such products never gained a market in the metropole, but illustrate the variables involved in the transition of caffeine plant domesticates from pre-colonial regional products to cosmopolitan, global commodities.


(1.) Originally published as Philippe Sylvestre Dufour, De l'usage du cafe, du the, et du chocolate (Lyons, 1671), the book went through many editions in Europe under the title Traitez mouveaux et curieux du cafe. du the et du chocolate. For a discussion of Dufour see Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants and Intoxicants, trans. David Jacobson (New York, 1992), pp. 40-41.

(2.) Quotation is Fernand Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life: The Limits of the Possible, trans. Sian Reynolds (London, 1981), p. 249. Sidney W. Mintz, Sweetness and Power. The Place of Sugar in Modem History (New York, 1985), p.1 13.

(3.) Philippe Sylvestre Dufour, Traitez mouveaux et curieux du cafe, du the et du chocolate (La Haye, 1693), frontispiece.

(4.) Hernando Colon, Vida del Almirante Don Cristobal Colan (Mexico City, 1947 [15711), p. 275.

(5.) Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe, The True History of Chocolate (New York, 1996); Ann Laura Stoler and Frederick Cooper, "Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda," in Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler, eds., Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World, (Berkeley, 1997), pp. 1-56.

(6.) Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva Espana Volume 2, Miguel Leon-Porrilla [ed.] (Madrid, 1984 [1632]), p.401. The description of this event shows how the Aztec beverage had been subsumed into the medieval European concept of the "void" course of a banquet, traditionally consisting of wine and sweetmeats (sugar confections). This often involved movement out into a garden building, described in Kim F. Hall, "Culinary Spaces, colonial spaces: The gendering of sugar in the seventeenth century," in Feminist Readings of Early Modern Culture: Emerging Subjects, Valerie Traub, M. Lindsay Kaplan, and Dympna Callaghan, eds., (Cambridge, 1996), p. 172. Joe de Acosta, Historia natural y moral de las Indias, Jose Alcina Franch [ed.], (Madrid, 1986 [1590]), p. 266.

(7.) The Nahuatl xicalli could be made of many materials, including gourd, ceramic or gold (Coe and Coe, True History, pp. 88, 120). German Somolinos D'Ardois, ed., El doctor Francisco Hernandez y Li primera expedicion cientifica en America (Mexico City, 1971), p. 121. The word molinilla is thought to be from the Nahuatl word molinia, "to shake or move" (Miguel Leon-Portilla, "Otro testimonio de acclturacion hispano-indigena," Revisra Espanola de Antropologia Americana XI [Madrid, 1981]: 220-243).

(8.) Janine Gasco, "Cacao and Economic Inequality in Colonial Soconusco, Chiapas, Mexico," Journal of Anthropological Research LII (1996); Gasco "The Colonial Economy in the Province of Soconusco," in Barbara Voorhies [ed.], Ancient Trade and Tribute: Economies of the Soconusco Region of Mesoamerica (Salt Lake City, 1989); Acosta, Historia natural, p. 266.

(9.) Dauril Alden, "The Significance of Cacao Production in the Amazon Region during the Late Colonial Period: An Essay in Comparative Economic History," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society CXX (1976): 103-135, suggests Mesoamerican production that may have totaled 3000 to 4000 metric tonnes per year at the turn of the seventeenth century was reduced to less than 700 tonnes annually by the turn of the eighteenth. On the causes for this decline see Coe and Coe, True History, p. 21, and Murdo J. MacLeod, Spanish Central America: A Socioeconomic History, 1520-1720 (Berkeley, 1973), pp. 76-77.

(10.) For critiques of the world system approach to history, particularly in the Latin American case, see Steve J. Stern, "Feudalism, Capitalism and the World-System in the Perspective of Latin America and the Caribbean," in Frederick Cooper, Allen F. lsaacman, Florencia E. Mallon, William Roseberry, and Steve J. Stern, eds., Confronting Historical Paradigms: Peasants, Labor and the Capitalist World System in Africa and Latin America (Madison, 1993), PP. 23-83; and Patrick O'Brien, "European Economic Development: The Contribution of the Periphery," Economic History Review XXXV (1982): 1-18. For recent research on Latin American consumption see Benjamin Orlove, ed., The Allure of the Foreign: Imported Goods in Postcolonial Latin America (Ann Arbor, 1997).

(11.) Eduardo Estrella, El pan de America: etnohistoria de los alimentos aborigenes en el Ecuador, 2nd ed. (Quito, 1988), p. 263; Dora Szasdi Leon Borja and Adam Szasdi Nagy, "El comercio del cacao de Guayaquil," Revista de Historia de America LVII/LVIII(1964): 4; Acosta, Historia natural, p. 266; MacLeod, Spanish Central America, p. 441 n. 22; Antonio Vazquez de Espinosa, Compendium and Description of the West Indies, Charles Upson Clark, trans. (Washington, 1942 [1620]), p. 371.

(12.) Alden, "Significance of Cacao", p. 107; MacLeod, Spanish Central America, p. 243; Robert J. Ferry, "Encomienda, African Slavery and Agriculture in Seventeenth-Century Caracas" Hispanic-American Historical Review LXI (1981): 609-635.

(13.) Eugenio Pinero, The Town of San Felipe and Colonial Cacao Economies (Philadelphia, 1994), pp. 28, 34; John Leddy Phelan, The Kingdom of Quito in the Seventeenth Century: Bureaucratic Politics in the Spanish Empire (Madison, 1967), p. 17; Leon Borja and Szasdi Nagy, "Comercio del cacao," pp. 4-8, 39-AC; Michael T. Hamerly, Historia social y economica de la Antigua Provincia de (Guayaquil, 1763-1842 (Guayaquil, 1987), p. 121.

(14.) These are mentioned, for example, in the household inventory of Luisa Maldonado de San Juan, the wealthy widow of a merchant. She died in 1664 and her testament mentions trading ties as far afield as Panama, thus allowing us to consider her an individual more "cosmopolitan" than many members of Cuenca's urban society. When her urban house was inventoried there were "four coconuts for drinking chocolate from the coast ... and another six", stored in a chest along with her jewelry and clothing. In a separate chest, which also contained clothing, there were "nine molinillos for making chocolate" (Ross W. Jamieson, "Dona Luisa and Her Two Houses: Widowhood as Power in the Colonial Andes," in James A. Delle et. al., eds., Lines That Divide: Historical Archaeologies of Race, Gender and Class [Knoxville, forthcoming]; Archivo Nacional de Historia/Cuenca [hereinafter ANH/C] C116.404a f.5v [1664]). A second inventory, from the house of Pedro Ortiz Davila was taken at his death in 1672. This inventory gives us a picture of one of the wealthiest Cuencanos of his era. Born in Spain, Ortiz Davila was the crown prosecutor of Cuenca at the time of his death. His house on the main plaza in Cuenca contained an 800-volume library and many works of art. The rich and extensive furnishings included 71 chairs, and over 100 pieces of silver and gold-plated silver tablewares. Of specific interest to us is the listing amongst the silver of "a jug for chocolate with lid, [and] a grater" (ANH/C L520 f.610v [1672]). Significantly, neither of these elite seventeenth-century inventories contains any mention of porcelain or ceramic cups.

(15.) Trade was declared legal by the Bourbon administration in 1774, and in 1779 export and import taxes on the product were reduced throughout the empire. In 1789 a 500 tonne annual limit on Guayas cacao exports was lifted; Kenneth J. Andrien, The Kingdom of Quito, 1690-1830: The State and Regional Development (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 97-101, 147; Pinero, Town of San Felipe, p. 35; Alden, "Significance of Cacao," p. 107. Annual production in the Guayas basin increased from 2060 tonnes in the 1780s to 3700 tonnes annually by 1802 (Hamerly, Historia social, 121; Leon Borja and Szasdi Nagy, "Comercio del cacao," pp. 39-40).

(16.) Alden "Significance of Cacao," p. 107; Coe and Coe, True History, p. 201.

(17.) Ralph S. Hattox, Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East (Seattle, 1985).

(18.) Schivelbusch, Tastes of Paradise, p. 15.

(19.) Hattox, Coffee and Coffeehouses, p. 72; Rudi Matthee, "Exotic Substances: the Introduction and Global Spread of Tobacco, Coffee, Cocoa, Tea and Distilled Liquor, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries," in Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich, eds., Drugs and Narcotics in History (Cambridge, 1995), p. 77.

(20.) Paul Butel, Histoire du the (Paris, 1989), pp. 44-45; John E. Wills, "European Consumption and Asian production in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries," in Consumption and the World of Goods, John Brewer and Roy Porter, eds., (London, 1993), p. 144; C.J.A. Jorg, Porcelain and the Dutch China Trade (Hague, 1982), p. 15.

(21.) Matthee, "Exotic Substances", p. 28; Jorg, Porcelain, p. 77.

(22.) Philip Caraman, The Last Paradise: the Jesuit Republic in South America (New York, 1975), p. 126.

(23.) Mary-Elizabeth Reeve, "Regional Interaction in the Western Amazon: The Early Colonial Encounter and the Jesuit Years: 1538-1767," Ethnohistory XLI (1994): 106-138; Caraman, Lost Paradise, p. 126; Thomas Whigham, The Politics of River Trade: Tradition and Development in the Upper Plata, 1780-1870 (Albuquerque, 1991), pp. 11, 110; Jonathan C.) Brown, A Socioeconomic History of Argentina, 1776-1860 (Cambridge, 1979), pp. 14- 15.

(24.) Reeve "Regional Interaction," p. 128; John Hemming, Amazon Frontier: The Defeat of the Brazilian Indians (London, 1987), pp. 108-110. From 1655 to 1680 exports of both privately harvested wild yerba mate, and crops from the Jesuit plantations, grew from 30 to 680 tonnes annually. Export of both crops continued at around 600 tonnes per year until the Jesuit expulsion from South America in 1767 (Whigham, Politics of River Trade, pp. 11, 16, 111-112; Caraman, Lost Paradise, p.129).

(25.) Whigham Politics of River Trade, pp. 13, 114-115; Brown, Socioeconomic History, p. 15.

(26.) Susan Migden Socolow, The Merchants of Buenos Aires, 1778-18 10 (Cambridge, 1978), p.4; Whigham, Politics of River Trade, p. 12.

(27.) Ross W. Jamieson, Domestic Architecture and Power: The Historical Archaeology of Colonial Ecuador (New York, 2000), p. 172; Antonio de Alcedo, de las Indias occidentales o) America, Vol. IV, Ciriaco Perez-Bustamente, ed., (Madrid, 1967 [1786]), p. 330. For examples of yerba mate utensils see ANH/C C116.229a f.2r (1772); ANH/C C116.095a f.2r (1772); ANH/C C97.102 f.3v (1770).

(28.) Hemming, Amazon Frontier, p. 471.

(29.) Richard Evans Schultes, "Ilex guayusa from 500 A.D. to the Present," Etnologiska Studier XXXII (1972): 115-144; Victor Manuel Patino, "Guayusa, a Neglected Stimulant from the Eastern Andean Foothills," Economic Botany XXII (1968): 310-316; Reeve, "Regional Interaction."

(30.) Wade Davis, One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest (New York, 1996), p. 200; H.T Erickson, Maria Pinheiro F. Correa, and Jose Ricardo Escobar, "Guarana (Paullinia cupana) as a commercial crop in Brazilian Amazonia," Economic Botany XXXVIII (1984), p. 281; Schultes "Ilex guayusa," p. 116.

(31.) Mary Douglas and Baron Isherwood, The World of Goods (New York, 1979), pp. 5,59. On Renaissance Europe see Chandra Mukerji, From Graven Images: Patterns of Modern Materialism (New York, 1983).

(32.) For the anthropological perspective see Mary Douglas, "A distinctive anthropological perspective," in Mary Douglas, ed., Constructive Drinking: Perspectives on Drink from Anthropology (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 3-15. For early caffeine in Europe see Jordan Goodman, "Excitantia: Or, how Enlightenment Europe took to soft drugs," in Jordan Goodman. Paul E. Lovejoy and Andrew Sherratt, eds., Consuming Habits: Drugs in History and Anthropology (London, 1995), pp. 134-135; Woodruff D. Smith, "From Coffeehouse to Parlour: the consumption of coffee, tea and sugar in north-western Europe in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," in Jordan Goodman, Paul E. Lovejoy and Andrew Sherratt, eds., Consuming Habits: Drugs in History and Anthropology (London, 1995), pp. 148-149; Hattox, Coffee and Coffeehouses; Elizabeth Kowalewski-Wallace, Consuming Subjects: Women, Shopping and Business in the Eighteenth Century (New York, 1997), p. 60.

(33.) Coe and Coe, True History, pp. 86, 125-161; Girolamo Benzoni, History of the New World, W. H. Smyth, trans., (London, 1857[1565]), pp. 148-150; Pinero, Town of San Felipe, pp. 26, 77; Alden "Significance of Cacao," p. 109.

(34.) Pineor, Town of San Felipe, pp. 77, 142; Alden, "Significance of Cacao", p. 112; MacLeod, Spanish Central America, p. 440 n. 19.

(35.) Alden, "Significance of Cacao," pp. 110-111; MacLeod, Spanish Central America, p. 439 n. 17; Coe and Coe, True History, p. 199; Hemming, Amazon Frontier, pp. 43, 211. Exports from the port of Belem rose from 200 tonnes in 1731 to 3000 tonnes in 1805 (Alden, "Significance of Cacao," pp. 114, 120).

(36.) In the first decade of the eighteenth century Caracas exported 300 to 900 tonnes of cacao to New Spain annually. By the 1750s the region was producing 2700 tonnes annually for export worldwide, and in the 1790s Caracas reached a colonial peak of 4000 tonnes annually (MacLeod, Spanish Central America, p. 243; Pinero, Town of San Felipe, pp. 47-50; Alden "Significance of Cacao," pp. 108, 112). On the British slave trade and the Caracas Company see Eugenio Pinero, "The Cacao Economy of the Eighteenth-Century Province of Caracas and the Spanish Cacao Market," Hispanic-American Historical Review LXVIII (1988): 75-100.

(37.) Pinero, "Cacao Economy," 84; Coe and Coe, True History, p. 132. By the 1760s 5400 tonnes of cacao were being consumed annually in Madrid alone. The Spanish had become adept at judging the quality of cacao from different regions, rating Moxos varieties from the Bolivian Amazon as the best, followed by Mesoamerican varieties, those from Cusco, and then Caracas cacao. The product from the Guayas region was seen as the worst grade available (Charles E. Kany, Life and Manners in Madrid, 1750-1800 [New York, 1970(1932)], pp. 151-152, 271).

(38.) Jean Leclant, "Coffee and Cafes in Paris, 1644-1693," in Robert Foster and Orest Ranum (eds.), Food and Drink in History: Selections from the Annales (Baltimore, 1979 [1951]), pp. 86-89; Matthee, "Exotic Substances," pp. 27, 40.

(39.) Leclant, "Coffee and Cafes," p. 89.

(40.) Peter Stallybrass and Allan White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (Ithaca, 1986), pp. 80-100; Smith, "From Coffeehouse to Parlour," p. 154.

(41.) Matthee "Exotic Substances," p. 27; Woodruff D. Smith, "Complications of the Commonplace: Tea, Sugar and Imperialism," Journal of Interdisciplinary History XXIII (1992): 274; S.D. Smith, "Accounting for Taste: British Coffee Consumption in Historical Perspective," Journal of Interdisciplinary History XXVII (1996): 185. By the 1720s the Surat trade had grown to 1200 tonnes annually (Bruce P. Lenman, "The English and Dutch East India Companies and the Birth of Consumerism in the Augustan World," Eighteenth-Century Life XIV [1990]: 56-57).

(42.) Goodman, "Excitantia", p. 130. By 1725 Java alone was producing 2200 tonnes of coffee annually (Wills, "European Consumption," pp. 142-143).

(43.) Goodman, "Excitantia," p. 130; Smith "Accounting for Taste," p. 168; David Watts, The West Indies: Patterns of Development, Culture and Environmental Change since 1492 (Cambridge, 1987), p. 503; Robert C. Williams, States and Social Evolution: Coffee and the Rise of National Governments in Central America (Chapel Hill, 1994), pp. 19-20.

(44.) William Roseberry, "Introduction," in William Roseberry, Lowell Gudmundson and Samper Kutschbach, eds., Coffee, Society and Power in Latin America (Baltimore, 1995), p. 3; William Roseberry, Coffee and Capitalism in the Venezuelan Andes (Austin, 1983), p. 71; Hemming, Amazon Frontier, pp. 463, 471. According to Goodman, "Excitantia," p. 130, Dutch Surinam produced 5500 tonnes of coffee annually by the 1770s. Cuban coffee production went from 800 tonnes in 1805 to 10 000 tonnes annually by 1815 (Robert Jones Shafer, The Economic Societies in the Spanish World, 1763-1821 [Syracuse, 1958], p. 180).

(45.) Wills, "European Consumption," pp. 135, 141; Butel, Histoire du the, pp. 48-50; Jorg, Porcelain, p. 77; Rodris Roth, "Tea-Drinking in Eighteenth-Century America: Its Etiquette and Equipage," in Robert Blair Sr. George (ed.), Material Life in America, 1600-1860 (Boston, 1988), p. 440. Samuel Pepys described trying tea in 1660, a new product in London, to which he was introduced by Richard Ford, a merchant with Dutch connections (sub September 25, 1660, in Robert Latham and William Matthews, eds., The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Volume I(1660) [London, 1970], p. 253).

(46.) Goodman, "Excitantia," p. 130; Jorg, Porcelain, pp. 19-21, 54, 66; Carole Shammas, The Pre-industrial Consumer in England and America (Oxford, 1990), p. 83; Wills, "European Consumption," p. 144; Smith, "Complications of the Commonplace," p. 273. From the late seventeenth century until the 1720s tea and coffee had almost equal popularity in England, but after the 1720s the popularity of tea began to grow disproportionately in that country. Smith, "Accounting or Taste," pp. 184, 214, suggests that this may have been due to the tax structure, as an ineffective coffee lobby in England led to higher import taxes on coffee than tea after the 1720s, leading to an English preference for tea.

(47.) Roth, "Tea-Drinking," p. 442; Shammas, Pre-industrial Consumer, pp. 83-85; Kowalewski-Wallace, Consuming Subjects, p. 22; Smith "Accounting for Taste," p. 184.

(48.) Goodman, "Excitantia," p. 130.

(49.) Butel, Histoire du the, p. 54; Wills, "European Consumption," p. 141.

(50.) Smith "From Coffeehouse to Parlour," p. 158-159; Smith "Complications of the Commonplace," p. 276.

(51.) Kowalewski-Wallace, Consuming Subjects, pp. 31-37.

(52.) Coe and Coe, True History, p. 137; Ignacio H. Mota, El libro de chocolate (Madrid, 1992), pp. 175-176; Leclant, "Coffee and Cafes," 86; Smith "From Coffeehouse to Parlour," p. 149; Anne W. Lowenthal, "Contemplating Kalf," in Anne W Lowenthal, ed., The Object as Subject: Studies in the Interpretation of Still Life (Princeton, 1996), p. 30; Lenman, "English and Dutch East India Companies," pp. 51-52; T. Volker, Porcelain and the Dutch East India Company (Leiden, 1954), pp. 25, 39.

(53.) John Brewer, The Common People and Politics, 1750-1790s (Cambridge, 1986), p. 126.) The earliest English coffeepot known is silver and dates to 1681. It is a gift from the EIC, demonstrating the close connection between the East India mercantile companies and the popularization of caffeine beverages in Europe (Schivelbusch, Tastes of Paradise, pp. 53, 180).

(54.) Roth, "Tea-Drinking," pp. 447, 458; Shammas, Pre-industrial Consumer, pp. 183-185; Lorna Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture in Britain, 1660-1720 (London, 1988), pp. 28, 31; Lenman, "English and Dutch East India Companies," pp. 56-58; Jorg, Porcelain, p. 149.

(55.) Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour, p. 110; Jorg, Porcelain, pp. 164-187; Lenman, "English and Dutch East India Companies," pp. 62-63.

(56.) Kany, Life and Manners, pp. 149, 151.

(57.) Benjamin Orlove and Arnold J. Bauer, "Chile in the Belle Epoque: Primitive Producers, Civilized Consumers," in Benjamin Orlove (ed.), The Allure of the Foreign: Imported Goods in Postcolonial Latin America (Ann Arbor, 1997), pp. 133, 135; Socolow, The Merchants of Buenos Aires, p. 84; Shafer, Economic Societies, p. 162.

(58.) Coffee consumption in Chile increased dramatically in the 1870-1900 period, suggesting its introduction to all social classes in the country, although yerba mate is still consumed in some rural areas of Chile today. In Argentina the debate has continued into the 20th century, as yerba mate drinking has gained a following with those who emphasize traditional and national concerns, attempting to promote a product which is uniquely produced in the Rio de la Plata region. Orlove and Bauer, "Chile in the Belle Epoque," pp. 116, 134-138. Amaro Villanueva, El lenguaje del mate (Buenos Aires, 1967).

(59.) On sugar see Mintz, Sweetness and Power. The history of tobacco is thoroughly coveted by Jordan Goodman, Tobacco in History: The Cultures of Dependence (London, 1993).
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Author:Jamieson, Ross W.
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Date:Dec 22, 2001
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