This day in 1690, Thomas Bowrey attended an East India Company Sale, probably an auction, of goods brought from the East Indies on the Rochester. He purchased two canisters of tea.
Having returned from India about a year earlier, Bowrey was continuing had left his business partner trading in the East and would soon be sending out his own ship. This receipts indicates that he was also trading in goods in London.
The East India Company first shipped tea to England in 1664 when they imported just 100 pounds. This was not the first tea to arrive here. It had been known in London since 1658 when it was advertised as being available at a coffee house and it was popularised by Catherine of Braganza, Charles II’s queen. Tea was a luxury commodity. in 1667, Thomas Garraway advertised it at up to £10 per pound weight.