The First-Ever Coffee Ad Promises Cures for Scurvy

The ad was first published in 1650, and touts the many diseases coffee can cure

The "virtues" of coffee from the first-ever coffee advertisement.

It's a far cry from the recognizably green ads from Starbucks: the first-ever advertisement for coffee is buzzing on the Internet, which promises that the "simple, innocent thing" can prevent scurvy, miscarriages, and drowsiness. 

The ad was taken out by London's first coffee shop, St. Michael's Alley, in a newspaper, the Atlantic reports. The ad (now archived by the British Museum) sells the berry that "groweth upon little Trees, only in the Deserts of Arabia." Here's what else we learned about coffee from the ad: 

• It's a "drying drink," drunk by the Turks at mealtimes. 

• "The quality of this drink is cold and dry." 

• It prevents headaches, coughs, gout, dropsie, and scurvy; it will also make your skin "exceeding cleer [sic] and white."

The Atlantic finds it funny that the ad's overhyped health benefits aren't drastically different from ads today — after all, how many diseases does coffee claim to prevent today? The main difference, the Atlantic says, is "the caveat of 1650 — Made and Sold in St. Michaels Alley in Cornhill, by Pasqua Rosse, at the Signe of his own Head — has been replaced by a caveat that is all too recognizable in its modernity: This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration." Check out the full ad for yourself.