Coffee Houses Have Always Offered Much More Than Coffee

Coffee Houses Have Always Offered Much More Than Coffee

When many people in the world want to go somewhere to exchange news, share ideas and get advice, they often go to a coffee shop. It has been that way for quite some time. Coffee shops have been places of learning; of making business deals; scientific, literary, political, philosophical, and economic discussions; and even the oh-so-common gossip.

In the earliest part of their history, coffee houses were already so popular that ideas born from there have been a source for political forums and discussions ever since. The inspiration of brilliant, coffee-inspired thinking is to the point that, at times, kings and nobility used it as a method of determining public opinion.

When coffee was introduced to Europe, during the 17th century, the popularity of cafés followed the same pattern as most coffee houses around the world still do today. The café quickly became a venue for people to congregate, exchange views, write poems, plays, and political testaments, conduct business transactions, participate in cultural exchange and often relax with a good book. In those earlier days when were the were no postal addresses, the popularity of coffee shops also served well as a mailing address, because so many people were regulars.

A typical coffeehouse shares common characteristics with bars or restaurants. They differ in that a coffeehouse focuses on serving just coffee, teas and snacks. In some countries, however, coffeehouses do serve hot meals, deserts, sandwiches, soups, and alcohol, as well as from bakery products.

Today, coffeehouses continue the tradition set by coffeehouses of the past. They still remain a very popular venue for people who want a relaxed and calm atmosphere where they can talk, read, catch up on the day’s event, meet with people and have excellent quality coffee. This desire is evidenced by popular coffeehouses with franchises around the globe such as Starbucks, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Peet’s, Cup O’ Joe, The Second Cup and the Coffee Bean.

Depending on the country and region, coffeehouses have adopted variations. In the United States, coffeehouses or cafes may offer a variety of coffee styles, hot chocolate and teas, as well as light snacks, while others serve full menus. Alcoholic beverages may even also be offered. One of my favorite types of coffeehouse also offers cases of books that may be read as you slowly enjoy your coffee.

Cafes in France almost always serve alcoholic drinks. Like most cafes anywhere in the world, they also serve light snacks. Other coffeehouses may have a restaurant area where the guests could be served from the full menus. The popularity of cafes in France, especially Paris, gave way to subtle coffeehouse variations like the brasserie where single dish meals are typically served, and the bistro.

The café experience in Europe spawned other variations of coffeehouses around the world. Some of these coffeehouses offer curb-side seating and others outdoor seating in places like the sidewalk, pavement or terraces. The seating is usually clustered along busy streets and operated by private local establishments and the activities often very closely resemble parties, especially on weekends.

These patio coffeehouses provide more open public spaces commonly preferred by customers wanting an airy and very casual atmosphere for relaxation and conversation.

Recently, a new type of coffeehouse entered the industry: the Internet café. Internet cafes may not appear to be your typical coffeehouse like the bistro, brasserie, cafeteria and the coffee chain establishments but they certainly share the same basic characteristics. Coffee, tea and chocolate are served together with light snacks and chatter. The chatting, though, is done online.

The Internet coffeehouse may not replace the traditional coffee shops, but nevertheless, Internet cafes are also a hub for political exchange, learning, and journalistic, literary and commercial enterprise. Only the styles of coffee shops have changed over the centuries, but in respect to why people frequent them, nothing has really changed.

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