Starbucks is nothing new. It burst onto the scene in the 90s in a big way, but not only had coffeehouses been a thing literally for centuries, but the ubiquity of tortured artists and argumentative intellectuals haunting the shadows and hogging the tables has been a staple since the very beginning. Where there is caffeine, there are hyped-up idea people.
Beer and tea are quintessential British drinks, but between the eras of beer for breakfast and afternoon tea lived the age of coffee and the coffeehouse. Coffee came to Britain via XXX in 1650 and caught on fast. It’s seen today more of the American answer to the British obsession with tea, but it actually came first, culturally. In fact, coffee became the American drink during the Revolution because of the boycott on heavily taxed tea.
What went on at coffee houses
Just like today, coffeehouses were almost always packed. They were an almost interchangeable option with taverns as gathering places for people to meet, chat, get the news, and exchange ideas. They were so popular that shipping deals were done there, and one of the original coffeehouses in London lives on today as an insurance agent-Lloyd’s if London.
The historical significance of coffee houses
Coffee vs tea vs tavern