The History of Coffee

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"The History of Coffee" by TH Lady Miriam bat Shimeon.
NOTE: See also the files: chocolate-msg, drink-choc-Sp-art, vanilla-msg, Cinnamon-Vari-art, cinnamon-msg, nutmeg-mace-msg, Hist-o-Coffee-art.

This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.

These files are available on the Internet at:
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at


Medieval Chocolate

by TH Lady Miriam bat Shimeon

2012 (updated Jan 2013)

The natives to the Americas have had a very long history of chocolate, but Europeans first heard about it from Christopher Columbus. In his fourth and final trip to America in 1502, he is given what he calls "almonds", made into a drink, which he and his sailors despised. It was Hernando Cortez, in 1519, who realized the appeal of the bean and set up cocoa and sugar cane plantations using the natives and Africans as slave labor.
The natives drank the drink unsweetened with many spices such as annatto, chilli and black pepper. It was also served foaming, which the Spanish hated. However, the Spanish loved the drink itself and the traditional belief is that the nuns of Oaxaca created a chocolate drink that was pleasing to the Spanish sweet tooth, using the sugar cane originally planted by Columbus himself on his second trip. For a more European flavor, cinnamon, aniseed and nutmeg were also added to the drink. The first processing plant was set up in 1580 and the secrets of the processing held by Jesuit priests, so the secrets came out over a hundred years later.
The process was described in 1701. The beans were roasted, de-husked and ground, leaving the cocoa mass (or liquor). This was then further ground with chilli, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, anise and cloves. It was then molded into blocks and shipped over the world. In Europe the blocks were melted in boiling pots of water, kept simmering all day. Following is a redacted recipe.
3 cups water

150g of dark chocolate, minimum 60% preferably 85%

1-2 star anise

5 cloves

1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon dried chilli (or to taste)

3-4 tablespoons of raw sugar (best to add less at first then more to taste)

1⁄2 teaspoon annatto (optional as ingredient is hard to get at the local store)

1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Boil the water. Place spices and sugar in boiling water. Then break chocolate into water. Seethe until all chocolate is dissolved. Strain into cups.
This is but a small history of chocolate. I also cheat by using Lindt dark chocolate with chilli. These means that the chocolate has already been adjusted to taste with sugar, vanilla & chilli.
Reference books-
"Chocolate: Cooking with the world's best ingredient", McFadden, C & France, C. Publisher: Ultimate Editions, 2000. ISBN: 1843090686
"The Book of Chocolate", Bailleux, N., Publisher: Flammarion, 2001. ISBN: 2080135880
"Vanilla: Travels in search of the luscious substance", Ecott, T. Publisher: Michael Joseph, 2004. ISBN: 0718145895
Viewed January 2013

"Sir Hans Sloane's Milk Chocolate and the Whole History of the Cacao" by James Delbourgo. Jstor article-
"Food of the Gods as Mortals' Medicine: The Uses of Chocolate and Cacao Products" by Martha Makra Graziano. Jstor article-
"Frontier Foods for Late Medieval Consumers: Culture, Economy, Ecology" by Richard C. Hoffmann. Jstor article-
"Like Water for Chocolate: Feasting and Political Ritual among the Late Classic Maya at Xunantunich, Belize" by Lisa J. LeCount. Jstor article-
"Tasting Empire: Chocolate and the European Internalization of Mesoamerican Aesthetics" by Marcy Norton. Jstor article-


Copyright 2012 by Miriam Staples. . Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.

Directory: files -> BEVERAGES
files -> Original: English
files -> Socials 11: Provincial Exam Review Preparation Essay Component
files -> 9. 5 Political Powers and Achievements Tom Burns- beacon High School
files -> Indiana Academic Standards Resource Guide World History and Civilization Standards Approved March 2014
files -> On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness” “Ozymandious” Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943;1936) Author
files -> Understanding Diversity What is Diversity?
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BEVERAGES -> Cordials, Brewing, and Vinting using herbs and spices, Intro to Alcohol with herbs and spices
BEVERAGES -> Qawha, Coffee for the Historical Cook
BEVERAGES -> Note: See also the files: cordials-msg, beverages-msg, Peach-Brandy-art, Kiwi-cordial-art. Apricot-Crdal-art, brewing-msg, mead-msg, beer-msg, wine-msg, p-bottles-msg

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