News & Tall Tales. 1800s.

San Francisco Gold Rush 1849.

The Coffee Trade of the United States

Wednesday Morning, March 6, 1853, Daily Alta California, San Francisco. No. 64.

The New York Shipping List of the 19th of January gives an elaborate and well compiled history of The Coffee Trade of the United Sates during the year 1852. Those interested in an article which forms a prominent feature of our daily commercial operations, will be repaid the trouble of a careful reading of the extracts we have made. The changes and movements of the New York market in any staple article of merchandise are not wholly disconnected with the condition of this.

From tabular statements in the article referred to the total receipts in the United States for the year ending December 31, 1852, are put down at 1,458,622 packages, estimated weight 205,542,855 lbs., against receipts in 1851 of 1,507,603 packages, weighing 215,043,870 lbs., being a decrease in receipts of 53,981 packages; and after deducting the exports in 1852, the quantity taken for consumption, exceeds the whole receipts by 18,133,890 lbs., reducing the stock in the country that amount, and making an increase in the consumption of 1852 over 1852, of about 11 per cent.

The article concluded with the following annual review of the New York market, and states that the total receipts at that port in 1852 were 606,122 packages against 593,465 in 1852, being an increase of 12,657 packages, but in the estimated aggregate weight continues the review

"There is a decrease in the import of 1852 of 1,371,305 lbs., the proportion of large packages received last year, being much larger than the import of the previous year; the export in 1852 was 5,132,860 lbs. Larger than in 1851; the stock 1st instant, was 40,085 packages less than 1st of January 1851, being a decrease in the estimated weight of 4,092,380 lbs., and the quantity taken from here for consumption in 1852 was 73,546,315 lbs., against 67,818,670 lbs. In 1851. And 48,589,400 lbs. In 1850, showing an increase in the consumption of 1852 of a fraction more than 8 per cent over that of 1851.

The import of Brazil direct, which now comprises the bulk of our receipts, if 275,579 bags, against 255,548 bags in 1851, showing an increase in this description of 20,031 bags. There is also an increase in Java, St. Domingo and Maracaibo, but in most other kinds, especially La Guayra, there is a large falling off.

The receipts in the United States in 1822, as per report of Commerce and Navigation, were 25,082,990 lbs., exported 7,267,199, leaving for consumption 17,815,271 lbs. At that period our lists of quotations stood thus:

West India, best grade
Duty 5 cts.
West India, 2d grade
St. Domingo --@24c
Java 26@28c

Brazil Coffee, it appears, was not quoted at all. Ten years later, or in 1832, the receipts of Brazil at this port reached 61,216 bags; all other kinds 163,775 packages; exported 156,667 packages/ retained for consumption, 68,324 packages. We then quoted Rio at 12@14-1/2 cents, closing the year at 15 duty 1 percent per lb. The total receipts in the United States, of all descriptions, that year, were 91,722,329 lbs., exported 55,251,158 lbs., retaining for consumption 36,471,171 lbs. From the 45h March, 1833, coffee was admitted duty free when we find the total receipts in the United States for the fiscal year were 99,955,026 lbs., retaining for consumption 75,055,906 lbs., showing an increase in the consumption the first year the duty was abolished of 105 per cent.

Ten years later, in 1842, the receipts at this port were, of

Brazil bags
All other kinds pkgs
Total Supply
Retained for consumption pkgs
Total import in United States in 1842
Retained for consumption

We then quoted Brazil in the commencement of the year, at 8-3/4 @ 10-1/2 cents; but this supply was considered so large, that prices rapidly declined to 6-1/2 at 8 cents. It will be seen by the above figures, that the quantity retained at this port for consumption for the ten years preceding 1832, show an increase in packages of about 185 per cent, or an annual increase of 18-1/2 percent; for the ten years succeeding 1832, an increase of over 270 per cent, being an annual increase of 27 per cent; and for the past ten years, an increase of 113-3/4 per cent, being an annual increase of 11-1/3 percent.

Coffee. Uncommon Grounds. Mark Pendergrast.

The year 1852 was commenced with a very large stock, particularly of Brazil, the supply of which, in our own and the leading Southern markets, amounted to about 136,000 bags, and the market was in consequence depressed. The sales in January were only about 22,000 pkgs., including public sales, at rates current the previous month. In February an active demand sprung up and 70,000 pkgs changed hands at an advance on Brazil of 1/2 cent, and on the other descriptions, except St. Domingo; the market subsequently became quiet, holders evincing no anxiety to realize. The sales for March were only about 42,000 pkgs; early in the month, prices of Brazil were a shade lower, but later, this decline was recovered, and St. Domingo was quoted a cent higher, Maracaibo and La Guayra, at and Java at .

Blue Mountain Coffee Beans. Blue Mountains, Jamaica.

Blue Mountains, Jamaica.

During April, there continued a steadily moderate demand, with sales of 56,000 packages, including the large auction sale of 9999 bags Brazil, at full prices, excepting Maracaibo, which was in large supply and offered more freely at cent below the rates previously current. Through May there was a good inquiry, the sales aggregating about 65,000 packages, a considerable portion of which was Java on speculation, at an advance of cent; for other descriptions full prices were realized. In June the market was dull, with a considerably increase in the receipts of Brazil and Java.

We only noticed sales of about 30,000 packages, a considerable part of which was St. Domingo at cent advance, the stock being reduced. Brazil declined to cent, other kinds remained without change. Throughout July only about 30,000 packages were sold at a further decline of 1/8 on Brazil, and 1/8 to on St. Domingo; toward the close, however, a better feeling was displayed, and the market closed with more buoyancy. During August holders offered their stocks freely, and about 62,000 packages, including several auction sales of Brazil, changed hands, closing at a further reduction of to 3/8 on Brazil and to on Java, while St. Domingo and Maracaibo maintained their value.

Coffee. A Dark History.

Through September, there existed a good demand, and about 50,000 packages were taken, including four public sales, at the rates current in August. In October, the market was quiet, with sales of only about 35,000 packages, without material alteration in Rates. In November, there sprung up an active speculative demand for Brazil and Java, and sales were made of 72,000 packages, mostly of those descriptions, at an improvement of per cent, and on Maracaibo and La Guayra . During December the market remained very quiet, until the close of the month, when a better demand prevailed for Brazil, induced by advices from Rio Janeiro of small shipments and advanced rates; prizes of this description improved an 1/8 cent in other descriptions, the business was small at previous quotations.

The Naval Order of the United States has a history dating from 1890. Membership includes a wide range of individuals, many with highly distinguished career paths.

The San Francisco Commandery meets the first Monday of each month at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club in San Francisco, California and holds two formal dinners each year.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.




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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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