This illustrated, caffeinated talk will take you on a whirlwind tour of London’s original ~ and best ~ coffeehouses. Free shots of gritty black coffee, brewed 17th-century style, included! London’s love affair with coffee can be traced back 350 years to a muddy churchyard in the City of London where a Greek visionary with a twirly moustache and shocking English accent dispensed a foul-looking liquid from a smoky wooden shack. From these humble beginnings arose a trailblazing cultural phenomenon that would transform the face of the city, connect Londoners, and inspire brilliant ideas that would shape the modern world. Hear about the meteoric rise of coffeehouses in 17th-century London, their blossoming in the 18th century, and their tragic death in the 19th as Londoners turned to tea. Picture the cosy, candlelit world of the Georgian coffeehouse and all that went on inside: from dolphin dissections to lethal duels over Latin grammar, poetry recitals to slave auctions, salacious gossip-mongering to ventriloquism. Marvel at a world where you could begin a conversation with anyone you liked by yelling the four sacred words: “What News Have You!” Today, our streets have been invaded by bland, tax-evading Starbucks clones, shadows of their Georgian forefathers. But small, independent coffeehouses are sprouting all over London: is this a resurgence of Georgian-style coffeehouses, little caffeinated Davids ready to defeat the corporate behemoth? Don’t miss this talk which has proved a hit at Selfridges, Port Eliot and on BBC Radio.