Garraway's Coffee House

Change Alley, EC3V 3ND, London

This alleyway may not now look very attractive, but this was the site of Garraway's Coffee House.

Tea was first sold here in the 1650s, one of the first places in London to do so. The alley once bustled with many coffee houses and other businesses. Garraway's closed in the 19th century, having being in business for more than two hundred years. A plaque on the wall commmemorates Garraway's Coffee House.


In the 1650s, tea was a new product to London. To convince people to buy tea, Thomas Garraway had to explain the new beverage through advertising. Garraway sold and advertised tea as a medicinal drink, a product which would cure almost any illness.
At that time, tea was expensive and mainly consumed by the upper classes and merchants. First sold in London in apothecaries and a few coffeehouses, tea was seen as a rare luxury.

Tea's popularity was boosted when King Charles II married Catherine of Braganza in 1662. She replaced wine, ale and spirits with tea as the court drink, and it gained social acceptance among the aristocracy.

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