As you read this, it is not unlikely that you have a coffee in hand. Ninety-eight million cups of the black – or brown, or white – stuff are drunk in the UK every day. Tea might still hold the upper hand as Blighty’s national beverage, but coffee is on the march, and has been for 400 years. 

Your morning cafetiere or coffee stop flat white might seem routine, but every time you add hot water to grounds and brew, you’re joining in a history that stretches back a very long way.

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