Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate

Sun, Nov 20, 2016 — Sun, Mar 5, 2017

From social revolutions that changed the way we drink our morning blends, to design revolutions that changed the objects that we drink from, step back in time to when gathering over a cup of your favorite hot beverage caused a stir that upended the world.

Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate is the first exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts to engage all five senses. In addition to seeing art, you can touch, hear, smell and even taste coffee- and tea-related beverages.

Get SocialPhotography is permitted and encouraged – use #SipTheStory on Instagram to share your ritual for drinking coffee, tea or chocolate. #SipTheStory on Instagram

Tickets for this special exhibition are timed and limited. Advance purchase is strongly recommended, especially on weekends when most tickets sell out well in advance. If you purchase tickets online, avoid waiting in line by printing your tickets from home and bringing them with you.

  • Adults: $14 / $10 for Tri-County Residents
  • Youth (Ages 6-17): $9 / $5 for Tri-County Residents
  • Groups (15+): $12 / $8 for Tri-County Residents

DIA Members receive free exhibition tickets, shop and café discounts, and more. Advanced reservations are also recommended for members. Call 313.833.7971 for membership information.

Coffee, tea and chocolate were strongly associated with 18th-century Europe as the fashionable beverages of the day, yet none of the plants required for their preparation were native to the continent. Coffee arrived from Africa and the Middle East, tea from Asia, and chocolate from the Americas.

Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate retraces the story of how these “new hot drinks” appeared on European tables beginning the in late 16th century, causing a near revolution in drinking habits, social customs and tastes, as well as an insatiable demand for specialized vessels, such as coffeepots, tea canisters and chocolate pots. The works of art assembled draw heavily from the DIA’s world-class encyclopedic collection and range from rare examples of porcelain and metalwork to paintings, prints and sculptures. In a departure from traditional art exhibitions, their presentation will be complemented by multi-sensory interpretive elements that engage all five senses—the museum’s first-ever exhibit to do so. As visitors to the show will learn, such beverages not only stimulated the body and mind, but also the desire for colonial expansion.

Student Groups in grades 5-12 receive free admission to see Bitter|Sweet! For more booking and reservations, please call 313.833.1292.