Posted in Kafevend Blog

Given the average British person's penchant for a good cup of tea, you might be surprised to hear that it was coffee that arrived first in Great Britain- in fact, it was from the already established coffee houses that tea was first sold to the masses. Whilst tea eventually became the more popular of the two, coffee still plays a major part in our nation, perhaps especially popular with those travelling to and from work, along with the office coffee break!

Coffee was first introduced to Great Britain in the late 16th century- around 80 years earlier than tea's arrival in the middle of the 17th century. British coffee culture was incredibly similar to that already established in the Middle East, with a vast number of coffee houses all over the country. Like the Middle East, British coffee houses were incredibly popular for social gatherings, with much trade and business occurring. Acquiring the nickname 'penny university', for the charge to enter, they were a great place to catch the latest news, and learn a little from the motley band of patrons. Of course, again like those in the Middle East, there was opposition.The highest came from King Charles II himself, though a ban he tried to enforce quickly fell through due to the public outcry.

One such coffee house was Lloyd's coffee house, established by Edward Lloyd in 1688 on Tower street. The establishment became a favourite of various maritime-oriented professionals, such as sailors, ship owners and merchants, whom Lloyd provided with reliable shipping news and information. Before long, it became a place where the shipping industry would retire to in order to discuss insurance deals, and this practice eventually lead to the formulation of the insurance market Lloyd's of London- quite a humble beginning for a business world leader!

by Kafevend

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