In an 18th-century letter from Thomas Jefferson to Edmund Rogers in the collections of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Jefferson deemed "coffee the favorite drink of the civilized world" and stated that he preferred "well ripened coffee of the W. Indies." An ad in the Virginia Gazette indicated Williamsburg's colonial residents could purchase tea leaves imported from India.
Developers/employees of Mars Drinks (an LLC part of Mars, Incorporated) collaborated with researchers from the Historic Trades Foodways group of Colonial Williamsburg to develop suitable beverages for consumption at America's only operating 18th-century coffeehouse. The result includes custom blends of coffee and tea using ingredients known to be available during that period.
R. Charlton's Coffeehouse in Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area
In the 1760s, Richard Charlton followed the example of numerous London counterparts and opened his coffeehouse adjacent to the Capitol Building in Williamsburg. There, he likely served tea imported from England, West Indian coffee, chocolate from the Caribbean and high-style cuisine, placing his establishment a cut above gentry taverns in the immediate vicinity. His coffeehouse soon became a stylish retreat from the mundane governmental activities of the Capitol, a gathering place for the social elite, a hotbed of political discussion and debate, and a place to hear the latest news from England as well as local gossip.
One of the most dramatic encounters of the period leading up to the American Revolution took place on the porch of R. Charlton's Coffeehouse in 1765, when an angry crowd protesting the Stamp Act demanded the appointed collector for Virginia, George Mercer, swear an oath that he would not distribute the official stamped paper. Mercer refused and took refuge on the coffeehouse porch, where Lt. Governor Francis Fauquier and his council had gathered to discuss current affairs. The incident ended when Fauquier rescued Mercer and escorted him to the Governor's Palace.
Proudly Served at R. Charlton's Coffeehouse in 2009
The Historic Division of Mars (American Heritage) was established in 2006, with the vision of becoming the undisputed leader in chocolate, coffee and tea history. Our mission is to relentlessly pursue and share chocolate's, coffee's and tea's rich pasts, by creating authentic historic chocolate, coffee and tea experiences that allow our consumers to enjoy the fusion of chocolate, coffee and tea history and Mars excellence.