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.
© Webster 1913.