EXACT DESCRIPTION OF THE GROWTH, QUALITY AND VIRTUES OF THE TEA LEAF,
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 and bushes, the branches whereof are well garnished with white
flowers, that are yellow within, of the bigness and fashion of
sweet-brier, but in smell unlike, bearing thin green leaves, about the
brightness of Scordium, Myrtle or Sumack. This plant has 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 up on the west of the province of
Namking, near the city of Lucheu, the Island Ladrones, and Japan, and
is called ' ChA.' Of this famous leaf there are divers sorts (though
all one shape), some much better than others, the upper leaves
excelling the others 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
close up 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 to be gathered but
by virgins who are destined for this work, and such, 'quae non dum
manstrua patiuntur; gemmae quae nascuntur in summitate arbuscula
servantur Imperatori, acpraecipuis e jus dynastus: quae autem infra
nasccuntur adlatera, populo conceduntur.'
The said leaf is of such known virtues, that those very nations so
famous for antiquity, knowledge and wisdom, do frequently sell it among
themselves for twice its weight in silver; and the high estimation of
the drink made therewith hath occasioned an enquiry into the nature
threrof amongst the most intelligent persons of all nations that have
travelled in those parts, who, after exact trial and experience by all
ways imaginable, have commended it to the use of their several
countries, and for its virtues and operations, particularly as
The quality is moderately hot, proper for
winter and summer. The drink is declared to be most wholesome,
preserving in perfect health until extreme old age. The particular
virtues are these;
It maketh the body active and lusty.
It helpeth the headache, giddiness and heaviness thereof.
It removeth the obstructions of the spleen.
It is very good against the stone and gravel, cleaning the kidneys and
ureters, being drank with virgin's
honey, instead of sugar.
It taketh away the difficulty of breathing,
It is good against tipitude, distillations,
and cleareth the sight.
It removeth lassitude, and cleanseth and
purifieth acrid humours, and a hot liver.
It is good against crudities, strengthening
the weakness of the ventricle, or stomach, causing
good appetite and digestion, and
particularly for men of corpulent body, and such as are great eaters of
It vanquisheth heavy dreams, easeth the
frame, 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
healeth and bindeth the mouth of the stomach.
It prevents and cures agues, surfets, and
fevers, by infusing a fit quantity of the leaf, thereby provoking a
most gentle vomit and breathing of the pores, and hath been given with
It (being prepaired and drank with milk and water) strengthenth the
inward parts, and prevents consumption; and powerfully assuageth the
pains of the bowels, or griping of the guts, and looseness.
It is good for colds, dropsys, and scurvys, if properly infused,
purging the body by sweat and urine, and expelleth infection.
It driveth away all pains of the collick proceeding from wind, and
purgeth safely the gall.
And that the virtues and excellences of this leaf and drink are many
and great is evident and manifest by the high esteem and use of it
(especially of late years) among the physicians and knowing men of
France, Italy, Holland and in England it hath been sold in the leaf for
six pounds (sterling) and sometimes 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 Gaeway did purchase a quantity thereof, and first publicly sold
the said tea in leaf and drink, made according to the directions of the
most knowing merchants and travelers in 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, physicians and 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 tea thereof.
And that ignorance nor envy may have no
ground or power to report or suggest that which is here asserted, of
the virtues and excellencies of this precious leaf and drink, hath more
design than truth, for the justification of himself, and the
satisfaction of others, he hath here enumerated 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, Martinivus 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 virtues of
the drink, printed in Paris, 1653, part x, 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 supplied, these are
to give notice that the said Thomas hath tea to sell from sixteen to
fifty shillings in 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 for two days loseth much of its first goodness, and
forasmuch as the berries after drying, may be kept, if need require,
some months, therefore all persons living remote from London, and have
occasion for the said powder, are advised to buy the said
coffee-berries ready dried, which being in a mortar 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 prepaired,
to the great satisfaction of the drinkers thereof, as hath been
experienced by many of the best sort, the said Thomas Garway hath
always ready dried, to be sold at reasonable rates.
All such as will have coffee in powder, or the berries undried, or
chocolata, may, by the said Thomas Garway, besupplide 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 virtues.