A Little Coffeehouse History

European Coffeehouse

European Coffeehouse

The first coffeehouse in Europe opened in Venice in 1683, though coffee had been available since 1608, mostly for the upper class. Coffeehouses have historically been a popular meeting place for revolutionaries and political debate. In France, the revolutionists began discussion of the bourgeoisie in Parisian coffeehouses; the founding fathers of the United States formed their national policies in coffeehouses. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 convened in a coffeehouse. The heavy tea tax had prompted Americans to switch to coffee as an expression of freedom.

While coffee is thought to have been first brewed by the Arabs, it may not have reached Christians as soon as it did if not for Pope Clement VIII. When coffee first reached Rome, Christian priests believed that Satan had invented coffee as a substitute for wine which Muslims were not allowed to drink. Since wine was used in Christian practices such as Holy Communion, priests thought that coffee must then be from the Anti-Christ. Faced with strong beliefs that coffee was the drink of Satan, Pope Clement VIII asked to try a cup before making a decision. When he did, he blessed the drink as a Christian beverage, resulting in massive imports of coffee to Italy and the Western world.