Chapter Notes

Chapter 15: Coffee Comes of Age


Early coffee roasting equipment

Up until the middle of the 19th century coffee was usually purchased green and roasted in the home.

pan roaster

There, coffee was roasted in long handled pans over wood or charcoal fires.


19th century covered market

Later, people would purchase their coffee supplies from market stalls and peddlers on a haphazard basis, depending on what was available at the time.

19th century coffee grocer

From the mid-19th century onwards main streets and high roads were transformed both in appearance and purpose. The covered markets were replaced by specialty shops which catered to ordinary folk as well as the middle classes. Unlike earlier times, bulk goods were now packaged on the spot and sold at a fixed price for ready cash.

Early Industrial coffee roasting

The transformation in coffee sales and distribution that began in the mid-1800s was nearly complete at the century's end. By that time the rail networks were essentially in place, shipping had gone from sail to steam and high street shops had decidedly taken over from the markets and fairs. By the early twentieth century, purpose built warehouses provided safe storage for imported coffee beans which were processed by industrial roasters, packaged and then sent out into the retail chain. But few people woke up to the fragrant smell of roasting coffee any longer.


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