Coffee Houses aren't new nor the way we use them
|As I sat in a Starbucks today I had a sudden realisation. For a quick glance around confirmed that I happened to be the only ‘leisure’ coffee drinker in the place. Since in this coffee house outside Newcastle, the customers had surrounded themselves with laptops, notebooks and phones. Business meetings predominated but singletons tapped furiously on keyboards while referring to A4 pads as they created undoubtedly the next… Starbucks
Yet, these specialist coffee outlets have only rediscovered the Georgian coffee house. Since the first coffee house in England got established in Oxford in 1652. The idea soon spread to London. In time, they became business hubs with no less than Lloyds of London, the London Stock Exchange, Christies and Sotherby’s having their origins in these establishments.
But the earlier Restoration coffee houses had another clientele. Because in that turbulent era, they became centres of political agitation and dissention. So much so, Charles II wanted them closed. A reputation they reinvented in 19th Century Europe where they brought artists, writers and intellectuals together for discussion and debate. Now if Starbucks and its ilk did that today, we may indeed see a revisiting of something else–fresh thought to go with the fresh coffee.