Hanna Hodacs: "Substitution coffee, tea and chocolate – combining theory, taste and practical knowledge in mid-18th century Sweden"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Engelska parken Rausingrummet, House 6
  • Organiser: Department of History of Science and Ideas
  • Contact person: H. Otto Sibum
  • Seminarium

Department of History of Science

At the forefront of this paper is a project launched by the Royal Swedish College of Physicians in 1745 to develop substitutes for coffee, tea, and chocolate in response to directives from the “Frugality commission”, set up by the government the previous years. The call was forwarded to provincial physicians, and professors of medicine in Uppsala, Lund, and Åbo with the aim to find local versions of the exotic drinks that would both “please the taste of the delicious” (“förnöja smaken hos den läckra”), and “conserve the health” of the consumer. In response, the College of Physicians received an array of suggestions including descriptions of existing substituting praxis as well as results from the correspondents’ own experiments with different plant material. In the paper, I discuss these reports and how we can understand the process of substitution in the light of early 18th-century medicine, natural history, and practical knowledge, but also as a local response to global changes in trade and consumption.

Carl Fredrik Svan - The Stenbock family in their library at Rånäs (ca. 1740)