Thomas Garway’s Broadsheet Advertisement for Tea, circa 1668


“An Exact Description of the Growth, Quality, and Vertues of the Leaf TEA, by Thomas Garway in Exchange Alley, near the Royal Exchange in London, Tobacconist, and Seller and Retailer of TEA and COFFEE.

Tea is generally brought from China, and groweth there upon little Shrubs or Bushes, the Branches whereof are well garnished with white Flowers that are yellow within, of the bigness and fashion of sweet Brier, but smell unlike, bearing thin green leaves about the bigness of Scordium, Mirtle, or Sumack, and is judged to be a kind of Sumack: This Plant hath been reported to grow wild only, but doth not, for they plant it in their Gardens about four foot distance, and it groweth about four foot high, and of the Seeds they maintain and increase their Stock. Of all places in China this Plant groweth in greatest plenty in the Province of Xemsi, Latitude 36. degrees, bordering upon the West of the Province of Honam, and in the Province of Namking, near the City of Lucheu; there is likewise of the growth of Sinam, Cochin China, the Island de Ladrones and Japan, and is called Cha. Of this famous Leaf there are divers sorts (though all of one shape) some much better than the other, the upper Leaves excelling the other in fineness, a property almost in all Plants, which Leaves they gather every day, and drying them in the shade, or in Iron pans over a gentle fire till the humidity be exhausted, then put up close in Leaden pots, preserve them for their Drink Tea, which is used at Meals, and upon all Visits and Entertainments in private Families, and in the Palaces of Grandees. And it is averred by a Padre of Macao Native of Japan, that the best Tea ought not to be gathered but by Virgins who are destined to this work, and such, Qua nondum Menstrua patiuntur; gemma qua nascuntur in summitate arbuscula servantur Imperatorie, ac pracipuis ejus Dynastis: qua autem infra nascuntur, ad latera, populo conceduntur.[1] The said Leaf is of such known vertues, that those very Nations so famous for Antiquity, Knowledge, and Wisdom, do frequently sell it amongst themselves for twice its weight in Silver, and the high estimation of the Drink made therewith, hath occasioned an inquiry into the nature thereof among the most intelligent persons of all Nations that have travelled in those parts, who, after exact Tryal and Experience by all Wayes imaginable, have commended it to the use of their several Countries, for its Vertues and Operations, particularly as followeth, viz.

“The Quality is moderately hot, proper for Winter or Summer.

“The Drink is declared to be most wholesome, preserving in perfect health untill extreme Old Age.

“The particular Vertues are these.

It maketh the Body clean and lusty.

It helpeth the Head-ach, giddiness and heaviness thereof.

It removeth the Obstructions of the Spleen.

It is very good against the Stone and Gravel, cleansing the Kidneys and Vriters, being drank with Virgins Honey instead of Sugar.

It taketh away the difficulty of breathing, opening Obstructions.

It is good against Lipitude Distillations, and cleareth the Sight.

It removeth Lassitude, and cleanseth and purineth adult Humors and a hot Liver.

It is good against Crudities, strengthening the weakness of the Ventricle or Stomack, causing good Appetite and Digestion, and particularly for Men of a Corpulent Body, and such as are great eaters of Flesh.

It vanquisheth heavy Dreams, easeth the Brain, and strengtheneth the Memory.

It overcometh superfluous Sleep, and prevents Sleepiness in general, a draught of the Infusion being taken, so that, without trouble, whole nights may be spent in Study without hurt to the Body, in that it moderately heateth and bindeth the mouth of the Stomach.

It prevents and cures Agues, Surfets and Feavers, by infusing a fit quantity of the Leaf, thereby provoking a most gentle Vomit and breathing of the Pores, and hath been given with wonderful success.

It (being prepared and drank with Milk and Water) strengtheneth the inward parts, and prevents Consumptions, and powerfully asswageth the pains of the Bowels, or griping of the Guts and Looseness.

It is good for Colds, Dropsies, and Scurveys, if properly infused, purging the Blood by Sweat and Urine, and expelleth Infection.

It drives away all pains in the Collick proceeding from Wind, and purgeth safely the Gall.

And that the Vertues and Excellencies of this Leaf and Drink, are many and great, it is evident and manifest by the high esteem and use of it (especially of late years) among the Paysitians and Knowing men in France, Italy, Holland, and other parts of Christendom; and in England it hath been sold in the Leaf for six pounds, and some times for ten pounds the pound weight, and in respect of its former scarceness and dearness, it hath been only used as a Regalia in high Treatments and Entertainments, and Presents made thereof to Princes and Grandees till the year 1657. The said Thomas Garway did purchase a quantity thereof, and first publickly sold the said Tea in Leaf and Drink, made according to the directions of the most knowing Merchants and Travellers into those Eastern Countries. And upon knowledge and experience of the said Garway’s continued care and industry in obtaining the best Tea, and making Drink thereof, very many Noblemen, Paysitians, Merchants and Gentlemen of Quality have ever since sent to him for the said Leaf, and daily resort to his House in Exchange Alley aforesaid, to drink the Drink thereof.

And that Ignorance nor Envy have no ground or power to report or suggest that what is here assertted of the Vertues and Excellencies of this pretious Leaf and Drink hath more of design than truth, for the justification of himself and satisfaction of others, he hath here innumerated several Authors, who, in their Learned Works, have expressly written and asserted the same, and much more, in honour of this noble Leaf and Drink, viz. Bontius, Riccius, Jarricus, Almeyda, Horstius, Alvarez Semeda, Martinious in his China Atlas, and Alexander de Rhodes in his Voyage and Missions in a large discourse of the ordering of this Leaf, and the many Vertues of the Drink, printed at Paris 1653 part 10, Chap. 13.

And to the end that all Persons of Eminency and Quality, Gentlemen and others who have occasion for Tea in Leaf, may be supplyed. These are to give notice, that the said Thomas Garway hath Tea to sell from sixteen to fifty Shillings the pound.

And whereas several Persons using Coffee, have been accustomed to buy the powder thereof by the pound, or in lesser or greater quantities, which if kept two dayes looseth much of its first Goodness. And, forasmuch as the Berries after drying may be kept if need require for some Moneths; Therefore all persons living remote from London, and have occasion for the said powder, are advised to buy the said Coffee Berries ready dryed, which being in a Morter beaten, or in a Mill ground to powder, as they use it, will so often be brisk, fresh, and fragrant, and in its full vigour and strength as if new prepared, to the great satisfaction of the Drinkers thereof, as hath been experienced by many in this City. Which Commodity of the best sort, the said Thomas Garway hath alwayes ready dryed to be sold at reasonable Rates.

Also such as will have Coffee in powder, or the Berries undryed, or Chocolata, may by the said Thomas Garway be supplied to their content: With such further Instructions and perfect Directions how to use Tea, Coffee and Chocolata, as is, or may be needful, and so as to be efficatious and operative, according to their several Vertues.





Thomas Garway (a.k.a. Thomas Garraway, English, 1632-1704)
Advertisement for Tea
Advertisement Broadsheet Folio: ink on paper
11 x 15 inches
British Museum


[1] “as have not yet reached menarche; the buds that grow on top of the bushes are reserved for the Emperor and the imperial family: but those that grow further down, on the sides, are granted to the common people.”  Many thanks to Dr. John T. Kirby, Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics, University of Miami for his translation of the Latin in the broadsheet.



11. November 2012 by Steven D. Owyoung
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