Count Rumford's Substitute for Tea & Coffee


W. Mattieu Williams

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Tonight, we’ll read an excerpt from 1892’s "The Chemistry of Cookery" by W. Mattieu Williams titled Count Rumford’s Substitute for Tea and Coffee. 

Who is this Count Rumford, you may ask? Well, to summarize Count Rumford’s life in modern words: Benjamin Thompson was an interesting fellow. Born in Massachusetts in 1753, he charmed and married an heiress from Concord, New Hampshire, then called Rumford, NH. He was a British loyalist when the American Revolutionary War began. When a rebel mob attacked his house, he abandoned his house and family to join the British side of the war and conducted experiments on gunpowder. Then he moved to Bavaria, and among other things applied his scientific skills to establishing workhouses for the poor and inventing the method of cooking called Sous Vide. 

For his efforts in science and society his awarded the title of Count. He chose the name Rumford for the town he was married in some twenty years earlier.