A coffeehouse, coffee shop or café (sometimes spelt cafe) is an
establishment which primarily serves hot coffee, related coffee
beverages (café latte, cappuccino, espresso), tea, and other hot
beverages. Some coffeehouses also serve cold beverages such as iced
coffee and iced tea. Many cafés also serve some type of food, such as
light snacks, muffins or pastries. Coffeehouses range from
owner-operated. small businesses to large multinational corporations.
In continental Europe, cafés often serve alcoholic beverages and
light food, but elsewhere the term "café" may also refer to a tea
room, "greasy spoon" (a small and inexpensive restaurant, colloquially
called a "caff"), transport café, or other casual eating and drinking
place. A coffeehouse may share some of the same
characteristics of a bar or restaurant, but it is different from a
cafeteria. Many coffeehouses in the Middle East and in West Asian
immigrant districts in the Western world offer shisha (nargile in
Greek and Turkish), flavored tobacco smoked through a hookah. Espresso
bars are a type of coffeehouse that specializes in serving espresso
and espresso-based drinks.
From a cultural standpoint, coffeehouses largely serve as centers of
social interaction: the coffeehouse provides patrons with a place to
congregate, talk, read, write, entertain one another, or pass the
time, whether individually or in small groups. Since the development
of Wi-Fi, coffeehouses with this capability have also become places
for patrons to access the
Internet on their laptops and tablet
computers. A coffeehouse can serve as an informal club for its regular
members. As early as the 1950s
Beatnik era and the 1960s folk music
scene, coffeehouses have hosted singer-songwriter performances,
typically in the evening.
2.1.1 Modern day
2.2 United States
3.1 Middle East
3.4 Egypt and Ethiopia
3.5 United Kingdom
6 See also
8 Further reading
Evolution of the word coffee.
The most common English spelling, café, is the French, Portuguese,
and Spanish spelling, and was adopted by English-speaking countries in
the late-19th century. As English generally makes little use of
diacritical marks, anglicisation tends to omit them and to place the
onus on the readers to remember how it is pronounced without the
presence of the accent. Thus the spelling cafe has become very common
in English-language usage throughout the world, especially for the
less formal, i.e., "greasy spoon" variety (although orthographic
prescriptivists often disapprove of it). The Italian spelling, caffè,
is also sometimes used in English. In southern England, especially
London in the 1950s, the French pronunciation was often
facetiously altered to /kæf/ and spelt caff.
The English words coffee and café derive from the Italian word for
coffee, caffè—first attested as caveé in
1570—and in turn derived from the Arabic qahuwa (قهوة). The
Arabic term qahuwa originally referred to a type of wine, but after
the wine ban by Mohammed the name was transferred to coffee because of
the similar rousing effect it induced. European knowledge of
coffee (the plant, its seeds, and the beverage made from the seeds)
came through European contact with Turkey, likely via Venetian-Ottoman
The English word café to describe a restaurant that usually serves
coffee and snacks rather than the word coffee that describes the
drink, is derived from the French café. The first café is
believed to have opened in France in 1660.
The translingual word root /kafe/ appears in many European languages
with various naturalized spellings, including; Portuguese, Spanish,
and French (café); German (Kaffee); Polish (kawa); Ukrainian
(кава, 'kava'); and others.
Mecca became a concern of imams who viewed them as
places for political gatherings and drinking. They were banned for
Muslims between 1512 and 1524. In 1530, the first coffeehouse was
opened in Damascus[better source needed] and not long
after there were many coffeehouses in Cairo.
Storyteller (meddah) at a coffeehouse in the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman chronicler
İbrahim Peçevi reports in his writings
(1642–49) about the opening of the first coffeehouse in Istanbul:
Until the year 962 , in the High, God-Guarded city of
Constantinople, as well as in Ottoman lands generally, coffee and
coffee-houses did not exist. About that year, a fellow called Hakam
Aleppo and a wag called Shams from
Damascus came to the city;
they each opened a large shop in the district called Tahtakale, and
began to purvey coffee.
Various legends involving the introduction of coffee to
Istanbul at a
"Kiva Han" in the late-15th century circulate in culinary tradition,
but with no documentation.
The 17th century French traveler and writer
Jean Chardin gave a lively
description of the Persian coffeehouse scene:
People engage in conversation, for it is there that news is
communicated and where those interested in politics criticize the
government in all freedom and without being fearful, since the
government does not heed what the people say. Innocent games ...
resembling checkers, hopscotch, and chess, are played. In addition,
mollas, dervishes, and poets take turns telling stories in verse or in
prose. The narrations by the mollas and the dervishes are moral
lessons, like our sermons, but it is not considered scandalous not to
pay attention to them. No one is forced to give up his game or his
conversation because of it. A molla will stand up in the middle, or at
one end of the qahveh-khaneh, and begin to preach in a loud voice, or
a dervish enters all of a sudden, and chastises the assembled on the
vanity of the world and its material goods. It often happens that two
or three people talk at the same time, one on one side, the other on
the opposite, and sometimes one will be a preacher and the other a
Coffeehouse in London, 17th century
A café in Istanbul, 19th century
In the 17th century, coffee appeared for the first time in Europe
outside the Ottoman Empire, and coffeehouses were established, soon
becoming increasingly popular. The first coffeehouses appeared in
Venice in 1629, due to the traffic between La Serenissima and the
Ottomans; the very first one is recorded in 1645. The first
coffeehouse in England was set up in
Oxford in 1650 by a Jewish
man named Jacob at the Angel in the parish of St Peter in the East. A
building on the same site now houses a cafe-bar called The Grand
Cafe. Oxford's Queen's Lane
Coffee House, established in 1654, is
also still in existence today. The first coffeehouse in
opened in 1652 in St Michael's Alley, Cornhill. The proprietor was
Pasqua Rosée, the servant of a trader in Turkish goods named Daniel
Edwards, who imported the coffee and assisted Rosée in setting up the
establishment in St Michael's Alley, Cornhill.
From 1670 to 1685, the number of
London coffee-houses began to
multiply, and also began to gain political importance due to their
popularity as places of debate. English coffeehouses in the 17th
and 18th centuries were significant meeting places, particularly in
London. By 1675, there were more than 3,000 coffeehouses in
Pasqua Rosée also established the first coffeehouse in
Paris in 1672 and held a citywide coffee monopoly until Procopio Cutò
Café Procope in 1686. This coffeehouse still exists
today and was a popular meeting place of the French Enlightenment;
Voltaire, Rousseau, and
Denis Diderot frequented it, and it is
arguably the birthplace of the Encyclopédie, the first modern
encyclopedia. In 1667, Kara Hamie, a former Ottoman
Constantinople, opened the first coffee shop in
Bucharest (then the
capital of the Principality of Wallachia), in the center of the city,
where today sits the main building of the National Bank of
Romania. America had its first coffeehouse in Boston, in 1676.
The first cafeteria in
Vienna was founded in 1683 by a Ukrainian
resident, Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, who was also the first to serve
coffee with milk. There is a statue of Kulczycki on a street also
named after him. However the culture of drinking coffee was itself
widespread in the country in the second half of the 18th century. The
first registered coffeehouse in
Vienna was founded by an Armenian
merchant named Johannes Theodat (also known as Johannes Diodato) in
1685. Fifteen years later, four other Armenians owned
Though Charles II later tried to suppress the
London coffeehouses as
"places where the disaffected met, and spread scandalous reports
concerning the conduct of His Majesty and his Ministers", the public
flocked to them. For several decades following the Restoration, the
Wits gathered around
John Dryden at Will's
Coffee House, in Russell
Street, Covent Garden. The coffeehouses were great
social levelers, open to all men and indifferent to social status, and
as a result associated with equality and republicanism. The rich
intellectual atmosphere of early
London coffeehouses were available to
anyone who could pay the sometimes one penny entry fee, giving them
the name of 'Penny Universities'.
More generally, coffeehouses became meeting places where business
could be carried on, news exchanged and the
London Gazette (government
announcements) read. Lloyd's of
London had its origins in a
coffeehouse run by Edward Lloyd, where underwriters of ship insurance
met to do business. By 1739, there were 551 coffeehouses in London;
each attracted a particular clientele divided by occupation or
attitude, such as Tories and Whigs, wits and stockjobbers, merchants
and lawyers, booksellers and authors, men of fashion or the "cits" of
the old city center. According to one French visitor, Antoine
François Prévost, coffeehouses, "where you have the right to read
all the papers for and against the government," were the "seats of
The statue of the writer
Gonzalo Torrente Ballester
Gonzalo Torrente Ballester in
(Salamanca-Spain), founded in 1905.
The banning of women from coffeehouses was not universal, but does
appear to have been common in Europe. In Germany, women frequented
them, but in England and France they were banned. Émilie du
Châtelet purportedly cross-dressed to gain entrance to a coffeehouse
In a well-known engraving of a
Parisian café c. 1700, the
gentlemen hang their hats on pegs and sit at long communal tables
strewn with papers and writing implements. Coffeepots are ranged at an
open fire, with a hanging cauldron of boiling water. The only woman
present presides, separated in a canopied booth, from which she serves
coffee in tall cups.
The traditional tale of the origins of the
Viennese café begins with
the mysterious sacks of green beans left behind when the Turks were
defeated in the
Battle of Vienna
Battle of Vienna in 1683. All the sacks of coffee were
granted to the victorious Polish king Jan III Sobieski, who in turn
gave them to one of his officers, Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki.
Kulczycki began the first coffeehouse in
Vienna with the hoard.
However, it is now widely accepted that the first coffeehouse was
actually opened by an Armenian merchant named Johannes Diodato
In London, coffeehouses preceded the club of the mid-18th century,
European countries. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, a café (with
the acute accent) is similar to those in other European countries,
while a cafe (without acute accent, and often pronounced "caff") is
more likely to be a greasy spoon-style eating place, serving mainly
fried food, in particular breakfast dishes. which
skimmed away some of the more aristocratic clientele. Jonathan's
Coffee-House in 1698 saw the listing of stock and commodity prices
that evolved into the
London Stock Exchange. Lloyd's
provided the venue for merchants and shippers to discuss insurance
deals, leading to the establishment of Lloyd's of
Lloyd's Register classification society, and other related
businesses. Auctions in salesrooms attached to coffeehouses provided
the start for the great auction houses of
Sotheby's and Christie's.
During the 18th century, the oldest extant coffeehouses in Italy were
Caffè Florian in Venice,
Antico Caffè Greco
Antico Caffè Greco in Rome,
Caffè Pedrocchi in Padua, Caffè dell'Ussero in
Pisa and Caffè
Fiorio in Turin. In Victorian England, the temperance movement set up
coffeehouses for the working classes, as a place of relaxation free of
alcohol, an alternative to the public house (pub).
In the 18th century,
Dublin coffeehouses functioned as early reading
centers and the emergence of circulation and subscription libraries
which provided greater print access for the public. The
interconnectivity of the coffee house and virtually every aspect of
the print trade were evidenced by the incorporation of printing,
publishing, selling, and viewing of reading matter from the premises,
most notably in the case of Dick’s
Coffee House, owned by Richard
Pue. Pue not only printed and published his own newspaper, but also
owned his own printing press, which he made available for others to
print their newspapers, pamphlets, catalogues, and books. And books
would be made available to patrons for perusal, thus contributing to a
culture of reading and increased literacy. These coffeehouses were
a social magnet where different strata of society came together to
discuss topics of the newspapers and pamphlets. Most coffeehouses of
the 18th century would eventually be equipped with their own printing
presses or incorporated a book shop. Later, most would merge. As
coffeehouses grew into public reading centers, circulating libraries
Dublin expanded, resembling public libraries as they lent books.
Public library fees were then expensive. Book-borrowing from
circulating libraries was more affordable. Circulating library keepers
could keep fees low because they were also printers, publishers, and
newspaper proprietors. One of the first circulating libraries was
established by James Hoey in 1735. Competition grew, as did the number
of patrons wanting several books at a time. Women were not allowed in
coffeehouses, so circulating libraries would target them by carrying
books tailored to female readers. Another lure of circulating
libraries was that most were flexible with their loan terms and rates
which increased circulation of books. It was cheaper to have a yearly
subscription to borrow than to purchase books. Having circulating
libraries increased people's ability to read as access to books became
In the 19th and 20th centuries, coffeehouses were commonly meeting
point for writers and artists, across Europe.
Coffeehouse in Greece
Cafe Terrace at Night, September 1888, by Vincent van Gogh.
In most European countries, such as Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway,
Sweden, Portugal, and others, the term café means a restaurant
primarily serving coffee, as well as pastries such as cakes, tarts,
pies, Danish pastries, or buns. Many cafés also serve light meals
such as sandwiches. European cafés often have tables on the pavement
(sidewalk) as well as indoors. Some cafés also serve alcoholic
beverages (e.g., wine), particularly in Southern Europe.
In the Netherlands and Belgium, a café is the equivalent of a bar,
and also sells alcoholic beverages. In the Netherlands a
koffiehuis (nl) serves coffee, while a coffee shop (using the
English term) sells "soft" drugs (cannabis and hashish) and is
generally not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages. In France, most
cafés serve as lunch restaurants in the day, and bars in the evening.
They generally do not have pastries except during mornings, where a
croissant or pain au chocolat can be purchased with breakfast coffee.
In Italy, cafés are similar to those found in France and known as
bar. They typically serve a variety of espresso coffee, cakes and
alcoholic drinks. Bars in city centres usually have different prices
for consumption at the bar and consumption at a table.
Caffe Reggio on
MacDougal Street in New York City's Greenwich Village
neighborhood, founded 1927. 2012 photo.
The second location of
Seattle was opened in 1977.
Coffee shops in the United States arose from the espresso- and
pastry-centered Italian coffeehouses of the
Italian American immigrant
communities in the major U.S. cities, notably New York City's Little
Italy and Greenwich Village, Boston's North End, and San Francisco's
North Beach. From the late 1950s onward, coffeehouses also served as a
venue for entertainment, most commonly folk performers during the
American folk music revival. This was likely due to the ease at
accommodating in a small space a lone performer accompanying himself
or herself with only a guitar. Both
Greenwich Village and North Beach
became major haunts of the Beats, who were highly identified with
As the youth culture of the 1960s evolved, non-Italians consciously
copied these coffeehouses. The political nature of much of 1960s folk
music made the music a natural tie-in with coffeehouses with their
association with political action. A number of well known performers
Joan Baez and
Bob Dylan began their careers performing in
Lightnin' Hopkins bemoaned his woman's
inattentiveness to her domestic situation due to her overindulgence in
coffeehouse socializing in his 1969 song "
Coffeehouse Blues". Starting
in 1967 with the opening of the historic Last Exit on Brooklyn
Seattle became known for its thriving countercultural
coffeehouse scene; the
Starbucks chain later standardized and
mainstreamed this espresso bar model.
From the 1960s through the mid-1980s, churches and individuals in the
United States used the coffeehouse concept for outreach. They were
often storefronts and had names like The Lost Coin (Greenwich
Village), The Gathering Place (Riverside, CA), Catacomb Chapel (New
York City), and Jesus For You (Buffalo, NY). Christian music (often
guitar-based) was performed, coffee and food was provided, and Bible
studies were convened as people of varying backgrounds gathered in a
casual setting that was purposefully different than the traditional
church. An out-of-print book, published by the ministry of David
Wilkerson, titled, A
Coffeehouse Manual, served as a guide for
Christian coffeehouses, including a list of name suggestions for
In general, prior to about 1990, true coffeehouses were little known
in most American cities, apart from those located on or near college
campuses, or in districts associated with writers, artists, or the
counterculture. During this time the word "coffee shop" usually
denoted family-style restaurants that served full meals, and of whose
revenue coffee represented only a small portion. More recently that
usage of the word has waned and now "coffee shop" often refers to a
See also: List of coffeehouse chains
Coffeehouses often sell pastries or other food items
Cafés may have an outdoor section (terrace, pavement or sidewalk
café) with seats, tables and parasols. This is especially the case
with European cafés. Cafés offer a more open public space compared
to many of the traditional pubs they have replaced, which were more
male dominated with a focus on drinking alcohol.
One of the original uses of the café, as a place for information
exchange and communication, was reintroduced in the 1990s with the
Internet café or Hotspot. The spread of modern-style cafés to
urban and rural areas went hand-in-hand with the rising use of mobile
computers. Computers and
Internet access in a contemporary-styled
venue help to create a youthful, modern place, compared to the
traditional pubs or old-fashioned diners that they replaced.
Coffeehouse in Damascus
In the Middle East, the coffeehouse (Arabic: مقهى maqha;
Persian: قهوه خانه qahveh-khaneh; Turkish: kahvehane or
kırâthane) serves as an important social gathering place for men.
Men assemble in coffeehouses to drink coffee (usually Arabic coffee)
and tea. In addition, men go there to listen to music, read books,
play chess and backgammon, watch TV and enjoy other social activities
Arab world and in Turkey.
Hookah (shisha) is traditionally
served as well.
Coffeehouses in Egypt are colloquially called 'ahwah /ʔhwa/, which is
the dialectal pronunciation of قَهْوة qahwah (literally
"coffee") (See also Arabic phonology#Local variations) Also
commonly served in 'ahwah are tea (shāy) and herbal teas, especially
the highly popular hibiscus blend (Egyptian Arabic: karkadeh or
ennab). The first 'ahwah opened around the 1850s and were originally
patronized mostly by older people, with youths frequenting but not
always ordering. There were associated by the 1920s with clubs
(Cairo), bursa (Alexandria) and gharza (rural inns). In the early 20th
century, some of them became crucial venues for political and social
A coffee shop in Angeles, Philippines
In China, an abundance of recently started domestic coffeehouse chains
may be seen accommodating business people for conspicuous consumption,
with coffee prices sometimes even higher than in the West.
In India, coffee culture has expanded in the past twenty years. Chains
Barista Lavazza have
become very popular. Cafes are considered good venues to conduct
office meetings and for friends to meet.
In Malaysia and Singapore, traditional breakfast and coffee shops are
called kopi tiam. The word is a portmanteau of the Malay word for
coffee (as borrowed and altered from English) and the Hokkien dialect
word for shop (店; POJ: tiàm). Menus typically feature simple
offerings: a variety of foods based on egg, toast, and coconut jam,
plus coffee, tea, and Milo, a malted chocolate drink which is
extremely popular in Southeast Asia and Australasia, particularly
Singapore and Malaysia.
Singapore also has coffee shops known as cafes and in the past few
years, there has a been a rise in cafe culture with urbanites seeking
out specialty coffees. Even with popular joints such as
Coffee Bean, the millennials in particular sought for gourmet coffees
as well as the relaxing and cosy ambience amidst the hustle and bustle
of the city. Moreover, cafes have also changed the social scenes of
Singapore. Instead of crowding at shopping malls, the youngsters could
now hang out at cafes.
In the Philippines, coffee shop chains like
Starbucks became prevalent
in upper and middle class professionals especially in Makati. However,
Carinderias also serve coffee alongside viands. Events such as
"Kapihan" often officiated at bakeshops and restaurants that also
served coffee for breakfast and merienda.
In Thailand, the term "café" is not a coffeehouse in the
international definition, as in other countries, but it is a night
restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages including there is a comedy
show on stage. The era in which this type of business flourished was
the 1990s, before the 1997 financial crisis.
The first real coffeehouse in Thailand opened in 1917 at the Si Kak
Phraya Si in the area of Rattanakosin Island, by Madam Cole, an
American woman who living in Thailand at that time, Later, Chao Phraya
Ram Rakop (เจ้าพระยารามราฆพ),Thai
aristocrat, opened a coffeehouse named "
Café de Norasingha"
(คาเฟ่นรสิงห์) located at Sanam Suea Pa
(สนามเสือป่า), the ground next to the Royal
Plaza. At present,
Café de Norasingha has been renovated and move
to a place within Phayathai Palace. In southern region, a
traditional coffeehouse or kopi tiam are popular with locals, like
many countries in the Malay Peninsula.
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In Australia, coffee shops are generally called cafés. Since the
World War II
World War II influx of Italian immigrants introduced espresso
coffee machines to
Australia in the 1950s, there has been a steady
rise in café culture. The past decade has seen a rapid rise in demand
for locally (or on-site)-roasted specialty coffee, particularly in
Sydney and Melbourne, with the "flat white" remaining a popular coffee
Egypt and Ethiopia
In Cairo, the capital of Egypt, most cafés have shisha (waterpipe).
Most Egyptians indulge in the habit of smoking shisha while hanging
out at the café, watching a match, studying, or even sometimes
finishing some work. In Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia,
independent coffeehouses that struggled prior to 1991 have become
popular with young professionals who do not have time for traditional
coffee roasting at home. One establishment which has become well-known
is the Tomoca coffee shop, which opened in 1953.
The patrons of the first coffeehouse in England, The Angel, which
Oxford in 1650, and the mass of
London coffee houses
that flourished over the next three centuries were far removed from
those of modern Britain. Haunts for teenagers in particular,
Italian-run espresso bars and their formica-topped tables were a
feature of 1950s
Soho that provided a backdrop as well as a title for
Cliff Richard's 1960 film Expresso Bongo. The first was The Moka in
Frith Street, opened by
Gina Lollobrigida in 1953. With their "exotic
Gaggia coffee machine[s],...Coke, Pepsi, weak frothy coffee
and...Suncrush orange fountain[s]" they spread to other urban
centres during the 1960s, providing cheap, warm places for young
people to congregate and an ambience far removed from the global
coffee bar standard which would be established in the final decades of
the century by chains such as
Starbucks and Pret a Manger.
Interior of an espresso bar from Baliuag, Philippines
The espresso bar is a type of coffeehouse that specializes in coffee
beverages made from espresso. Originating in Italy, the espresso bar
has spread throughout the world in various forms. Prime examples that
are internationally known are
Starbucks Coffee, based in Seattle,
Washington, U.S., and Costa Coffee, based in Dunstable, UK, (the first
and second largest coffeehouse chains respectively), although the
espresso bar exists in some form throughout much of the world.
The espresso bar is typically centered around a long counter with a
high-yield espresso machine (usually bean to cup machines, automatic
or semiautomatic pump-type machine, although occasionally a manually
operated lever-and-piston system) and a display case containing
pastries and occasionally savory items such as sandwiches. In the
traditional Italian bar, customers either order at the bar and consume
their beverages standing or, if they wish to sit down and be served,
are usually charged a higher price. In some bars there is an
additional charge for drinks served at an outside table. In other
countries, especially the United States, seating areas for customers
to relax and work are provided free of charge. Some espresso bars also
sell coffee paraphernalia, candy, and even music. North American
espresso bars were also at the forefront of widespread adoption of
WiFi access points to provide
Internet services to people doing
work on laptop computers on the premises.
The offerings at the typical espresso bar are generally quite
Italianate in inspiration; biscotti, cannoli and pizzelle are a common
traditional accompaniment to a caffe latte or cappuccino. Some upscale
espresso bars even offer alcoholic beverages such as grappa and
sambuca. Nevertheless, typical pastries are not always strictly
Italianate and common additions include scones, muffins, croissants,
and even doughnuts. There is usually a large selection of teas as
well, and the North American espresso bar culture is responsible for
the popularization of the Indian spiced tea drink masala chai. Iced
drinks are also popular in some countries, including both iced tea and
iced coffee as well as blended drinks such as Starbucks' Frappucino.
A worker in an espresso bar is referred to as a barista. The barista
is a skilled position that requires familiarity with the drinks being
made (often very elaborate, especially in North American-style
espresso bars), a reasonable facility with some equipment as well as
the usual customer service skills.
Café Mélange, Vienna
Coffee shop in Calicut
Café Majestic, Porto
English coffeehouses in the 17th and 18th centuries
List of coffeehouse chains
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List of countries by coffee production
Species and varieties
Coffee Pot Control Protocol
List of coffee dishes
Cà phê sữa đá
Café au lait
Café de olla
Café con leche
Café com Cheirinho
Greek frappé coffee
Indian filter coffee
Ipoh white coffee
Viennese coffee house
Roasted grain drink
Coffee and doughnuts
Coffee cup sleeve
Tasse à café
Coffee leaf rust
King Gustav's twin experiment
Coffee vending machine
Single-serve coffee container
Third wave of coffee
Types of coffeehouses
Book café (Manga cafe
Cosplay restaurant (Maid café
Internet café (PC bang)
Viennese coffee house