The coffeehouse has a history of animated conversation and debate, presumably because of the animating effect of caffeine.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many states in Europe closed them down for the discussion of revolution that happenned there.

More recently, in the 1950's, they were associated with the Beat Generation and Jack Kerouac.

In Toronto the Bohemian Embassy Coffeehouse was a center for music and poetry, neatly bridgeing the gap between the beats and the hippies.

In the 1970's the Bohemian Breakdown Coffeehouse, later the Nervous Breakdown Coffeehouse (name changed due to copyright concerns), carried on the traditions of music and poetry in Toronto. I spent many nights there making simple coffee drinks with a hydrolic-powered espresso-maker.

Regretably, the revolutionary tradition of the coffeehouse has not survived its history.

In Amsterdam the term Coffeehouse denotes an establishment where one can obtain substances of a more calming nature than caffeine(i.e.,maryjane). It is where a variety of "recreational drugs" can be purchased for consumption with no hassles from the legal profession. Toward the back of these you can choose from a number of farming locales ,i.e. Colombia.

Cof"fee*house` (?), n.

A house of entertainment, where guests are supplied with coffee and other refreshments, and where men meet for conversation.

The coffeehouse must not be dismissed with a cursory mention. It might indeed, at that time, have been not improperly called a most important political institution . . . The coffeehouses were the chief organs through which the public opinion of the metropolis vented itself . . . Every man of the upper or middle class went daily to his coffeehouse to learn the news and discuss it. Every coffeehouse had one or more orators, to whose eloquence the crowd listened with admiration, and who soon became what the journalists of our own time have been called -- a fourth estate of the realm. Macaulay.

 

© Webster 1913.

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