I was intrigued by this advertisement in the Stamford Mercury, which appeared at the end of October 1777. I had not come across “English Coffee” before but I love the way that ‘unsolicited testimonials – genuine or otherwise – have long been used to promote different products.
Good on you, Mr Stephens, be you ever so humble a servant!
The only “English Coffee” I know is a sort of liqueur coffee made with Gin, Kahlua, and Cointreau mixed into a cup of hot coffee and then topped with whipped cream (and some more Cointreau to taste).
This clearly, was something altogether different for the advertisement continues with a description of its ingredients – “a balsamic extracted from a variety of the choicest aromatic plants and herbs, and also certain barks.”
It apparently gave relief “for every species of consumptive and nervous complaints viz. recent colds, coughs of long-standing, asthmas, tremors, vertigos, palpitations and spasmatic twitches, in all which cases it operates with amazing success.”
Well I don’t know about you, but if it cures those dreadful spasmatic twitches I get most mornings, then I want some of that English Coffee. And as it states, it is clearly intended for a decayed constitution like mine and better than either sago (yuk, you have got to be kidding!) or jelly (now you are talking!). I am sure that I would greatly enjoy anything which was “salubrious to my body.” In fact at only two shillings and sixpence a canister, bring it on!