The Story about Coffee Houses

Geschichte des Cafés, Kodak Portra 160, Leica M Makro Elmar 90

For a long time, cafés were the special meeting place for taking a break, having a fresh coffee and perhaps reading or talking to a newspaper. Even today there are these small and larger coffee houses and they are enjoying growing popularity again. But since when are there actually cafés?

The history of the coffee houses

We tell the story of the café and go in search of traces in its beginnings. The origin of visiting a coffee house lies in North Africa and goes back to the early Middle Ages. And, of course, the emergence of cafés is closely linked to the discovery of coffee.

At the beginning of the history of the coffee houses was the coffee bean

At the beginning of the history of the coffee houses stands the coffee bean. Legend has it that goats from a herd in Ethiopia consumed these optically cherry-like fruits on a shrub. They were up to late into the night, while all the other goats slept.

The shepherds sought advice on this phenomenon from the monks of the nearby monastery who were now studying the feeding ground more closely. They discovered the coffee bushes and made a fruit from their fruits. They noticed the invigorating effect and initially used this discovery for themselves.

The shepherd also tried one of the beans, but they did not taste it in the raw state he threw them into the fire. Immediately, a soothing aroma of coffee with an animating effect developed. That could be the origin of coffee roasting.

All this is said to have taken place in the 9th century in southwestern Ethiopia, more precisely in Kaffa. Did this relationship influence the later name?

In the 14th century, it was probably slave traders who took coffee beans with them on their routes to Arabia. But it was not until the middle of the 15th century that they started to grow coffee beans. And that’s right.

The first coffee houses

The town of Mokka in modern-day Yemen, now called al Mukha, became the trading center of this reviving fruit. From here, the preparation of a coffee began its triumphal procession over the Persian and Ottoman Empire. The first coffee houses were built in the city of Mecca. This was followed by such facilities in the cities of Cairo, Damascus and Aleppo.

With the opening of the first coffee house in Constantinople in 1554, the boom reached Europe. But it would take almost 100 years before merchants brought this enjoyment to Western Europe. At the time, trends were slow to settle, and so the first West European coffee house opened in 1647 in Venice at St. Mark’s Square under the arcades.

From now on, there was no stopping, just three years later, the triumphal procession began in England. It was there that the first coffee house opened in Oxford in 1650, and two years later the “Virginia Coffee House” was built in London. Especially in the vicinity of the stock exchange, such an institution was well received and so more and more coffee houses were added.

The first coffee houses in Germany

Sailors brought the delicious drink to Bremen, one of the most important coffee locations to this day. Here the first coffee house was opened in 1673 and now made it available for distribution all over the country. In 1677 there was the first coffee house in Hamburg. These meeting places were particularly popular with merchants, brokers and traders and so was another in 1697 in the building of the Bremen merchants and the seat of the Chamber of Commerce, the Schüttling.

Coffee Houses today

Of course, the coffee came with his young tradition as a coffee house to Paris and thus to France. The Enlightenment in France was very important for the European area and the ideas of freedom spread rapidly, so they also took over French vocabulary for the finer things in life. Thus, the French term for coffee, so “cafe”, also established in the German-speaking countries and today belongs to our normal usage as well as many very everyday terms, also from the hospitality.

My café

The coffee houses established themselves as meeting places of certain professional and population groups. They wanted to meet like-minded people and so they arranged to meet in his regular café. so the stockbrokers met in one, the writers in the other café. As a male domain one felt at home here and also understood, sometimes even to the displeasure of the female society. But so did the individual cafés develop their corresponding inner life, which was increasingly shaped by their clientele.

One used his Stammcafé also for plays, preferably for chess was played. Increasingly, such opportunities also opened up for the middle and middle classes.

Entertainment followed in these coffee shops, whether theater or music, whether lectures or readings, a wide range was created. Competitions among the performers were organized and actors got their chance.

Above all, people met and discussed with each other. And so the cafés had their share in educating society and increasing liberalization.

Coffee houses and cafes today

An active meeting place for games and entertainment, today’s café is a rarity. Rather, one meets here just for a coffee and a piece of cake or cake. Ice cream or small meals are also available.

The decor is usually very modern or in the cozy living room style. Small tables and filigree chairs or lounchige furnishings make up the furniture. You can feel at home here as you do today.

You can choose between a systematic gastronomy with a rather hectic atmosphere or a family business, in the ideal way, still a real pastry chef or otherwise very talented person conjures very individual cakes and pies. As a rule, coffee houses thereby create a reputation that is often well-known far beyond the region.

Many younger people increasingly focus on the good old days and appreciate these individual places very much.

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