Ludwigsburg Residential Palace, Meissner porcelain belonging to Queen Charlotte Mathilde, 1810–1820

Expensive, decorative and practicalPorcelain and coffee,tea and chocolate

In the 17th century, coffee, tea and chocolate began taking Europe by storm. Hot beverages required new containers of special material and in new shapes. Initially, porcelain was imported from Japan and China at great expense, until it became possible to create the "white gold" domestically.

Ceramics museum at Ludwigsburg, woman drinking coffee, design by Friedrich Wilhelm Beyer, 1765–1766

Metal containers were unsuitable for hot beverages.

Liquid luxury

Tea, coffee and chocolate were expensive luxury goods in the Baroque period, and at first, only noble society were able to enjoy this indulgence. The taste was considered bitter and was softened with sugar, which was also expensive. To fully enjoy this indulgence, precious porcelain was preferred over metal or tin-glazed earthenware containers. The porcelain was initially imported from Asia and later manufactured in Europe. The hot beverages were served in expensive containers and became an indispensable way of expressing luxury and prestige in the upper classes.

Ceramics museum at Ludwigsburg, Prince Paul's breakfast set, 1813

Even the set tablet is made of porcelain.

Small drinking bowls

At first, the containers resembled their East Asian prototypes. Small drinking bowls, or "koppchen," became fashionable. They were complimented with a larger bowl, or "kumme," for rinsing the coffee grounds and tea leaves out of the smaller bowl. Over time, special sets were designed. Breakfast or lunch sets included a tray, pots for coffee, tea and milk, a sugar bowl and one or two cups. Morning coffee was served in bed or at a small table in the bedroom.

Ceramics museum at Ludwigsburg, travel breakfast set, 1788

Porcelain was even used on travels.

Coffee servers at court

At the Württemberg court, the luxury beverages were prepared in a special coffee chamber. In 1810, the staff consisted of three servants: a court coffee boiler, a travel coffee boiler, who accompanied the king on his travels, and a coffee maid. The room where the coffee was roasted and ground was located on the ground floor of the theater building. Chocolate was whipped up fresh at the table. The pot required a lid that could accommodate a whisk.

Ludwigsburg Residential Palace, special "Coffee with the king" tour

At Ludwigsburg Residential Palace, coffee can be sipped from fine china as part of a special tour.