How Many European Countries Play In The World Cup Coffeehouse Culture – An Aromatic Contagion

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Coffeehouse Culture – An Aromatic Contagion

Do you know what ‘Wine of Apollo’ is? At one point in history, this phrase was used to describe a strong black drink that created enough stimulation to keep a human being awake through the wee hours of the night. Thus began the age-old tradition of drinking coffee and also the culture of serving it in specific outfits that became popular as coffee houses.

Believed to have been born in 1000 AD in the dry and sandy lap that made up ancient Arabia, the culture of a coffee house has evolved to such an extent that today it forms one of the mainstays of a contemporary lifestyle where a day goes by without a cup of coffee is completely unimaginable. The story began with Arab farmers roasting and brewing beans and spending their evenings sipping the strong broth to enjoy and benefit from its invigorating effects. Unintentionally, this is how the first coffee house in the world came into being, a culture that soon gained its own identity and flavor.

From the Arabian beaches the contagion of coffee house culture and its main drink ‘qahuwa’, which means coffee, traveled to Mecca where it took the form of ‘kaveh kanes’ – a gathering place for people to play chess, hold discussions and dance while sipping. this aromatic drink. Given its viral nature, within no time it had spread to neighboring Turkey where the first coffee house called Kiva Han was established in old Constantinople, now known as Istanbul, in 1475. Given its aromatic magnetism, it conquered Cairo, Egypt immediately, and entered Europe during the 17th century.

Coffee house culture took on an entirely new flavor on the European continent that echoed an identity unique enough to have lasted for centuries. What could be a better proof of its effectiveness than the fact that some coffee houses established at the time enjoy loyalty and patronage even today? A particularly notable example is that of Jamaica Wine House which opened its doors to London’s eclectic residents in 1660 and now operates as a pub, affectionately referred to as ‘The Jampot’ by its customers.

The prominent names responsible for the proliferation of the coffee house culture were Café Le Procope in Paris which was introduced in 1686 and several first generation coffee houses in London. Lloyds, the world famous insurance company started as a coffee house and so did Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Coffee itself was known by several versions of the word ‘cafe’ in different parts of Europe, and its etymology is a reflection of the country’s traditions.

In England, coffee house establishments earned the nickname ‘penny universities’ as any individual could gain entry and spend their entire evening sipping a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper, both costing twopence. However, the conversation was very similar to the ancient Arabs and soon coffee houses became popular destinations for political discussions, creative expression and exposure.

An interesting fact about coffee culture in that era was that this location was a male-only domain. Except for the woman who was responsible for pouring coffee into cups, no women were allowed to enter as part of accepted social norms. But there was a revolutionary change in this mindset over the years and as the culture of the coffee house grew and expanded, it encompassed within its fold all parts of the population regardless of their age, gender or any other factor.

Then came the era when coffee began to be used as an exhibition of local culture and a platform for countless social activities ranging from music and dancing to holding auctions and a convergence point for ambitious and experienced stock traders. The current period is witness to the coming of age of this tradition with international chains such as Starbucks controlling the ‘roast’.

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