see them on every corner in a thriving metropolis. Where
did they come from? Why are they here? They are known as
the local café and the coffee shop down the street.
are many myths to explain the birth of the coffeehouse.
Some claim the English had the first one. The Viennese also
claim this first. And Constantinople-not Istanbul-claims
having a coffeehouse in 1540. But before that several cafés
were closed down in Mecca. The real birthplace of the coffeehouse
is Arabia, where the coffee bean, the beverage, and a place
to drink it have been around for at least 500 years.
is an allure surrounding the café. It is a place
where one can meet friends, study, read, or enjoy a beverage
(caffeinated or not). Café ambiance varies from the
most basic self-serve countertops to places catering to
people on the go to salons with couches, tables, stuffed
chairs, newspapers, books, games, and computers.
is no set regimen at the café. One can sit for hours
watching the people stroll by outside or have an intense
conversation about man's place in the universe. Or one can
stop by just long enough to pick up an espresso or cafezinho
(very strong, sweet Brazilian coffee) for the long afternoon
have become more and more popular in the last few years,
so popular that you might have a hard time not finding
one. Regional and national chains have popped up and become
very successful. Well-known café chain names roll
off the tip of one's tongue like well-known international
cities of allure-Starbucks, Pasqua, and Peet's. They are
like international cities just around the corner you can
enter for the price of a cup of coffee, and without a passport.
cafés are not just the big chains that reside on
every city corner. It is the local café that has
one-of-a-kind charm and ambiance. The café may serve
food, or specialize in French or Bavarian pastries. Cafés
may have live music, poetry readings, or art showings. The
chain café cannot compete with these special flavors.
started out as the place one went to find news. Newspapers
were distributed in cafés and one went to the café
for the same reason one might now turn on the TV or the
radio, to get information and gossip.
first English coffeehouses were much more political than
our modern counterparts. Being a predecessor of men's clubs,
they did not allow women to join in the consumption of coffee
and all that went along with it in the café.
cafés were places people met. People would hold hours
in certain cafés so their friends and associates
would know where to find them. This is a practice still
used by college professors. Wouldn't work be wonderful if
one could spend half the day in a café?
was much inspiration to be found in a café. Simone
de Beauvoir and John Paul Sartre held offices in cafés
and wrote much of their theories of existentialism in them.
Certain academicians wrote their lectures and reports in
cafés. And today, writers still find inspiration
days, the rush of the rat race contrasts the leisure of
the café. Busy executives and businesspeople queue
up in long lines to get their morning nonfat latte, cappuccino,
or other coffee beverage. You can see them rushing off to
consume their caffeine pleasure in the confines of their
office or cubicle.
image of the café evokes lazy weekends where the
biggest problem is planning what not to do. By buying coffee
from a café, one buys a little part of the café
dream, where there is time to stay in the warmth of the
café enjoying the beverage and the company of friends.