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Coffee Houses and Socialising: A Caffeine fueled Social Network


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Ahh, coffee. The drink some of us rely heavily on in the mornings and often throughout the day as well. Come to think of it, coffee is highly similar to power-ups in video games; it gives us a good power boost with extra abilities that are temporary but sufficient to get one through the most dreadful of tasks.

Today, the coffee culture is growing and how. From unending references in pop culture to being at the hem of most social engagements, coffee surrounds us in most aspects of life. Research says that coffee is the most consumed beverage after water! But how did this caffeinated beverage grow to become so important to us? And how did it create such a cultural phenomenon of its own? Well, to answer those questions, we’ll have to indulge in a bit of time travel. Care to join us?

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The History of Coffee and Coffee Houses

The origins of coffee go all the way back to the 15th century - when coffee began to be cultivated and traded in Arabia. By the 16th century, it had made its way to Egypt, Persia, Turkey, and Syria. This is when in the Middle East, coffee houses came into being. These public coffee houses became venues for people to gather, listen to music, play chess and even exchange valuable information. So much so that these places were often referred to as “schools of the wise”!

Fast forward to the 17th century, and coffee makes its first appearance in Europe. Did you know that initially in Europe, coffee was sold in pharmacies as medicinal remedies?! In fact, it was in 1683 when the first European coffee house opened in the beautiful city of Venice. Europe, home to some of the most renowned artists, philosophers, and historians, benefited deeply from coffee houses. These coffee shops became very popular with like-minded scholars to gather, discuss, and learn from one another. They became integral to the political and cultural transformations in Europe and encouraged idea exchange tremendously. 

By the 18th century, coffee and tea were both keenly cherished in the US. But with the events of the Boston Tea Party, tea began to be looked upon as an unpatriotic drink. It was soon boycotted, and coffee became everyone’s drink of choice - the effects of which are evident even today in America.

By this time, coffee had begun to spread its magic all over the world, taking over wine and beer to become the most preferred breakfast beverage. Needless to say, there has been no looking back since.  

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The Present Day Story

Today, coffee has become such an integral part of our social lives that imagining a world without this beloved drink seems difficult, to say the least. At home, coffee is a good energy booster to begin the day with. At work, coffee guises itself as a mid-day break to recharge energy levels or even chat with colleagues. Outside of these usual consumption patterns, coffee shops have blown up, especially since the 1990s. The establishment of local cafes and large coffee chains has helped give an entirely new meaning to coffee culture. These coffee houses have also managed to give rise to an exciting coffee culture experience whose popularity and importance in society today are undeniable. 

Think about the last time you visited a coffee house. Was it a casual occasion where you caught up with long-lost friends over a delicious warm cup of coffee? Or did you hold a business meeting, pitched proposals to a client, and met colleagues for a good brainstorm session? It’s absolutely true when we say that coffee houses cater to almost everybody from all sections of society. They are great places to connect, socialize, meet new people and sometimes, simply relax. 

Over the past decades and centuries, there have been tremendous changes and shifts in coffee consumption and consumer expectations. While coffee houses continue to be an integral part of our social structure, the beverage in itself has undergone massive changes. We now have specialty coffee accompanied with a wide range of beans, brews, and flavors that were perhaps completely unheard of earlier. As coffee lovers too, our tastes have evolved and continue to do so as we happily experiment with our choice of brews.

Essentially like the old times, coffee houses today continue to bring together communities and encourage information exchange. The love for coffee remains common across cultures and perhaps unites the world in a manner we don’t even realize yet. It allows for social interactions and light-hearted conversations and connects us in a warm, wholesome way. Based on the current fondness for coffee houses, it looks like the phrase “let’s meet up over coffee” isn't dying anytime soon (and we couldn’t be happier!).


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