Today, the idea of a coffee house usually brings to mind a cozy place that serves gourmet coffee and espresso drinks, with couches to lounge in while you sip. So how did the coffee house get its start? The first record of a public place serving coffee dates back to 1475. Kiva Han was the name of the first coffee shop, located in the Turkish city of Constantinople (now Istanbul). Coffee establishments continued to spread, with the first one opening up in Britain in 1652. Though its popularity was growing in Europe, the idea arrived in England again from Turkey. An English merchant who dealt in Turkish goods (such as coffee) had two of his servants leave him, to go into business for themselves. “The Turk’s Head” coffee house was born.
From there, the idea spread further through Europe. Italy in 1654 and then Paris in 1672. Germany embraced the coffee house for the first time in 1673. When America was colonized, the coffee house was quick to follow. The role of the American coffee house was the same as those in England: the hotspots for the business community. The Tontine Coffee House (1792) in New York was the original location for the New York Stock Exchange, because so much business was conducted there.
In 1652 Cape Town becomes an early player in the history of coffee, as it is established by the Dutch East India Co. as a re-supply depot on the coffee route back to Amsterdam. Those very earliest Dutch settlers introduce coffee as a drink to South Africa; a tradition that has never left us. In Europe the coffee power shifts from Venice, which was the main port of imported roasted Arabian coffee, to Amsterdam, supplying Europe with freshly roasted Java.
Today Cape Town is still a coffee lovers haven, Strictly Coffee in Robertson is proud to be a part of the ever growing coffee culture in South Africa.
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