Coffee houses or cafe are trendy. Especially trendy hip star locations, specialty coffee and much more. But where does the idea of meeting in a place to pay for a drink come from? Find out the history of the coffee houses here - with unique literature references.
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WHAT ARE COFFEE HOUSES AND WHAT IMPORTANCE DO THEY HAVE FOR HUMAN SOCIETIES
Coffee houses have always been the places where people came together to discuss ideas and news. They were often visited by intellectuals, writers, poets and businessmen.
Coffee houses emerged in social atmospheres where intellectual exchange was considered an added value. They played an important role for centuries. They became meeting places where people could meet to share their thoughts and ideas about the world. Coffee houses have been part of human history since the 16th century.
Initially, coffee was only consumed as a drink. Over time, most cafes have evolved into small restaurants offering light meals, cakes and pastries. This culture has survived to this day and coffee houses have become an important part of human history.
HOW COFFEE HOUSES BEGAN AND WHAT THE EVIDENCE IS
According to Ali Mustafa Effendi, one of the historians of the time, the first coffee houses in Istanbul appeared in 1553. The Ottoman historian Ibrahim from Pécs (born 1574 in Hungary) writes that the first coffee houses were opened in Tahtakale, Istanbul in 962 according to Hijri (Islamic calendar), i.e. 1554-1555 AD. The founders of the first coffees were a trader from Aleppo named Harem and a person from Damascus named Shams. Thus, in a short time, the number of coffee houses entering Istanbul city life increased.
In these coffee houses, people from different cultural backgrounds would gather to drink coffee and chat. A new social and public space was created.
COFFEE SHOPS SERVE SEVERAL SOCIAL NEEDS
Coffee houses spread very quickly. It is said that there were fifty coffee houses in Istanbul during the last period of Suleiman the Magnificent. According to the books prepared in 1792, the number of coffee houses increased to 1631 and in 1821 there were already more than 2076 coffee houses in Istanbul.
The coffee house was initially considered an extreme innovation, but very quickly became the standard. These houses were able to establish themselves because they met several social needs at the same time:
cultural needs and
THE POLITICAL RELEVANCE OF COFFEE BUILDINGS
From the second half of the 16th century AD, the coffee houses, where people gathered, gained social importance and attracted the attention of political power. They were increasingly perceived as the main places of unrest and political opposition.
The coffeehouses lost their reputation and became more and more seen as places where gossip and rumors spread. The political authority also resorted to banning coffeehouses, which they saw as a threat to the existing order.
In the early days, the Ottoman government's attitude towards coffee houses was to ban and close them entirely.
The coffeehouse culture spread not only in Istanbul, but throughout the Ottoman dominion – even in the villages. Especially in city districts and villages, the coffee house stood out as the main meeting point. These had become places of conversation and recreation, where small games were played.
COFFEE HOUSE CATEGORIES: HOW THE COFFEE HOUSES WERE DIFFERENTIATED
An American research team conducted a study on the coffeehouse culture in Istanbul in 1922 and found that there were several thousand coffeehouses in Istanbul. The team divided the coffeehouses into seven categories:
tavern coffee houses,
coffee houses near mosques,
artisan coffee houses,
Coffee houses from restaurants and
village coffee houses.
COFFEE HOUSE CULTURE AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE FOR TODAY
Over the years, coffee houses have expanded their offerings. A lot of different types of drinks have been added. But one important characteristic has not changed: coffee houses are still places of social encounter, political interaction and intellectual exchange.