In Our Time: History

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history and social impact of coffee. From its origins in Ethiopia, coffea arabica spread through the Ottoman Empire before reaching Western Europe where, in the 17th century, coffee houses were becoming established. There, caffeinated customers stayed awake for longer and were more animated, and this helped to spread ideas and influence culture. Coffee became a colonial product, grown by slaves or indentured labour, with coffea robusta replacing arabica where disease had struck, and was traded extensively by the Dutch and French empires; by the 19th century, Brazil had developed into a major coffee producer, meeting demand in the USA that had grown on the waggon trails.

With

Judith Hawley

Professor of 18th Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London

Markman Ellis

Professor of 18th Century Studies at Queen Mary University of London

And

Jonathan Morris

Professor in Modern History at the University of Hertfordshire

Producer: Simon Tillotson

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