There is no morning without a good cup of coffee. When I was practicing my breakfast ritual today, I realized my French press was broken. It was not very old, but it did live a good life. After all, it served me for a couple of months, fulfilling its purpose, and it even traveled a bit. But there was this mournful mood around the house.
So for a bit of a change, I turned to my Moka pot this morning. She is a granny already but still makes good coffee. I frothed some almond milk and prepared myself a nice cappuccino.
As I sat at the desk to write down some thoughts, I noticed how much I actually missed going to coffee places. Cozy vibes, people chirping, working, writing, reading, and drinking. Cafes have been closed for a while again during the pandemic. With a sense of nostalgia, I decided I was going to revive coffee houses in my writing.
It all started in the 15th century in today’s Turkey, where the first coffee house, known as Kiva Han, was established. Coffee was brewed in the Ottoman style by bringing beans and water to boil, and it used to be drunk unfiltered. Cultivation and trade of coffee beans actually began there, in the Middle East. Such coffee houses soon spread to Europe.
The idea of filtering grounds probably emerged in Vienna in 1529. Viennese also started to add cream and sugar to the beverage. This form of serving soon became a standard.
In 1652, coffee was introduced in England. The first English coffee house was set in Oxford. It was frequented by politicians, artists, writers, philosophers, and merchants. The same year, a more prominent cafe was founded in London on St. Michael’s Alley. It was run by a Greek called Pasqua Roseé. He was a servant of a businessman Daniel Edwards, an importer of goods, including coffee, from Turkey.
English coffee houses were known as ‘penny universities.’ Because for just a single penny, a man could gain admittance with a refreshment included, and he could stay for as long as he liked. It is also where the first jars for tips appeared. They bore a sign ‘to ensure prompt service,’ and gentlemen could put a coin in to be served quickly.
Women were not allowed in cafes, except the ones who worked there or owned the premises. Coffee houses were too rough for them. However, they could visit taverns, which served food alongside beverages and were much more respectful.
Coffee shops rapidly took over the whole of Europe. They were introduced in Italy (1654), France (1672), Germany (1673), and progressively also in the colonized Americas. In 1946, the first commercial pistol espresso machine was presented by the Italian company Gaggia. And there came the espresso.
As the industry developed, coffee went through its first wave in the 20th century. It was offered as a commodity, and there was no focus neither on quality nor on sourcing. It usually came grounded or in the instant form.
In the 1990s, the beverage was revolutionized by the branded giants such as Starbucks, Tim Hortons, or Costa Coffee. We call that era the second wave of coffee. A sort of experience was provided with the drink itself, such as new flavors, friendly baristas, and pleasant interiors. There was also a slight focus on the origin of the beans.
Nevertheless, that would be a specialty of the third wave, presenting the coffee as we know it today. There is a sense of artisanality, craft, and love involved. Manual brewing methods have also become popular.
Coffee experts claim that we now live in the fourth wave of coffee. It is characterized by the science behind it, roasting, for instance, or the new consumer-friendly methods of preparation mentioned above. But, to me, it seems like the same concept.
Boutique cafes with couches, plants, books, cakes, and, of course, with great coffee. The beverage itself evolved quite a lot. However, today’s coffee shops continue the legacy of the coffee houses from hundreds of years ago. They are hubs for meeting friends, sharing, discussing, and enjoying life in general. And I miss these.