Saturday, January 13, 2007

The First American Coffee House Began in a Bookstore

In the 1670s, in Boston, before Paris even had a coffee house.


José Solano said...

Hmm. Sounds like some sort of koan issued to break through the wheel of samsara.

José Solano said...

Just responding to the posting at face value it does appear to be true. But, Middle Eastern countries have had coffeehouses since the 16th century. Coffee and hookah pipes are very popular in those countries. A Turkish Jew set up a coffeehouse in Oxford, England in 1650. For interesting reading on coffeehouses see

I understand a certain Rosée came from London to open up the Boston coffeehouse in 1670 but where did you get the coffeehouse bookstore connection?

My first experiences in coffeehouses were in Greenwich Village, New York playing chess for hours on end and drinking cappuccinos. But the best coffee I've enjoyed was in the coffeehouse of a lovely small hotel owned by a lovely German couple at Orosi, Costa Rica where they also served wonderful pastries. The guy said he drank 35 cups a day. And those were large cups. Yet he didn't complain of any heartburn and claimed it had to do with the quality of the coffee. Well.

Gruntled said...

The title gem comes from Markman Ellis' new The Coffee-House: A Cultural History, which we are reading now in my class on Cafes and Public Life. Ellis disputes the dating of the Oxford coffee house, by the way, giving Pasqua Rosee priority in London in 1652. He had learned how to run a coffee house in Turkey (or Greece), and brought that already established custom to England. British America shared in the coffee house craze before the cafe came to Paris, or even Vienna.