Caffeine and the Course of the Revolution

Caffeine and the Course of the Revolution

The history tells us the connection between the caffeine drinks to the defining moment of several important events that led to the Industrial revolution and the development of our civilization today.



It’s hardly a coincidence that coffee and tea caught on in Europe just as the first factories were ushering in the industrial revolution. The widespread use of caffeinated drinks—replacing the ubiquitous beer—facilitated the great transformation of human economic endeavor from the farm to the factory. Boiling water to make coffee or tea helped decrease the incidence of disease among workers in crowded cities. And the caffeine in their systems kept them from falling asleep over the machinery. In a sense, caffeine is the drug that made the modern world possible. And the more modern our world gets, the more we seem to need it. Without that useful jolt of coffee—or Diet Coke or Red Bull—to get us out of bed and back to work, the 24-hour society of the developed world couldn’t exist. — National Geographic


China is considered as the homeland of tea and tea drinking, dating back to 5000 years. Meanwhile, among European, the Portuguese was the first Europeans who began the trade for tea commercially. The tea was widespread across Atlantic around 1700s, including the British colony who were aware about the commodity later on. The British merchant shipped the leaves all the way from China. Then, tea is brought to the America and demonstrates the rise of the consumer revolution in colonial America. Consequently, tea has played a key role in several important historical events such as the first opium war and the American Revolution. The significant impact of this commodity brought forward the political movement of the Tea Party demonstrates in Boston, on December 16th 1773.

boston tea party


In The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bitesauthor Libby H. O’Connell shows how the evolution of the country can be understood through changing trends in food and drink. Her exploration of the Revolutionary period covers products like wheat flour, oxtail, sugar, rum, and whiskey. In this excerpt about the rise in popularity of coffee and tea, she explains the role patriotism played in leading us towards our now ubiquitous coffee culture.


Similarly, Coffee is a mind altering substance that are so addictive and powerful to keep us awake and active on the personal level, and the broader level it shaped the history and the culture. Many said that after the Boston tea party, the American switch from tea to coffee.


“One of the ironies about coffee is it makes people think. It sort of creates egalitarian places-coffeehouses where people can come together-and so the French revolution and the American Revolution were planned in coffeehouses”.

Inevitably, coffee and tea had a significant impact in our civilization. Moreover, the ironies about the caffeine are that the plantation was built by the slave in the colonial period; the monopoly of the commodity becomes the source of the rise of the business for European domination.

Today, tea and coffee is consumed in every part of the world, become the most widely beverage consumed after water. The caffeine is the fueled of the industrial revolution, though the industrial revolution brought about the environmental destruction. Thus, would the caffeine is at the same time also bringing to the brink of the disaster to the earth?