Arabia happens to be the place where coffee cultivation began; to be more precise, this was in Yemeni in the fifteenth century, a renowned Arabia district. But by the onset of the sixteenth century, cultivation had spread to other regions such as Turkey, Persia, Syria, and Egypt.
This occurred at a time when public cafes had become very prevalent in the Middle East. The coffeehouses in this region were used by people who were looking to discuss recent happenings in the region, listen to their favourite music, participate in a lively game of chess or even watch different performers take the stage. They were able to do this as they enjoyed their favourite brands of coffee. By the end of the century, the public cafes had become so intertwined and popular in the society, that they soon got a new nickname” Schools of the Wise”.
The beginning of the seventeenth century saw coffee find its way into different parts of Europe. Initially, coffee was being sold to interested consumers as a type of remedial remedy. But this was not for long, as coffee houses soon started to spring up in different locations where they were all quickly embraced by residents. It is estimated that the very first coffeehouse in Europe was opened in the year 1683 and was located in Venice.
History has shown that coffeehouses can be used, and have been used as crucial meeting points across Europe by all members of the society. Whenever a new coffeehouse was spotted in Europe, it would lead to a number of political and cultural transformations in the regions where they had been opened. This is because a coffeehouse readily provided a medium that could be used to nurture public opinion as well as encourage members of the public to share their views across the societal spectrum.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the cafes had become very popular with historians, antiquarians, and natural philosophers. The reason for this being that they acted as places where scholars could meet, debate, read, and learn different subjects from the other scholars.
Coffeehouses and cafes have been—and today—continue to be places where individuals meet to talk, pass time, write scholarly articles, and even entertain each other. Studies have shown that many people tend to use light-hearted-conversations when they want to maintain or even establish a connection with another person or group. These conversations are also used by people who are looking to transfer certain pieces of information.
Therefore, coffeehouses can be said to play an important role that helps enhance community values and create social networks. They are able to do this by providing a venue that can be used by coffee enthusiasts to make regular and random interaction with other members of society.
When used as a meeting point, a coffeehouse can be used to assist in spreading information. The information is normally spread in an informal manner, and will mainly occur in the form of people getting to know each other. In some instances, this is also done through the use of local noticeboards hang on the coffeehouse walls. Once one person has the information, they pass it on to their contacts who then spread it to others through their socialising networks. By the end of the day, you will find that members of that particular community get to influence one another through the information.
With time, the norms and behaviours that are adopted by upcoming societal members tend to be a reflection of the interaction that is already taking place, as well as through the use of what is known as collective reasoning.
The societal aspects associated with cafes and coffeehouses have over the years evolved in different countries to include residences where families hold coffee weekends, mornings, and evenings for their close friends and their families. Such informal gatherings are used as a way to come together and converse with each other.
There are studies that have shown that social isolation as one grows older can be attributed to inferior cerebral function. One study, for instance, established that providing coffee to the residents of a nursing home often encouraged them to come together and interact with each other. And as such, there are individuals who will end up benefiting from such social interactions.
The Silent Role Played by Coffee in the Society
Regardless of whether you are a coffee enthusiast or not, there is a very big probability that there is a coffee shop located close to where you work, reside, or go for your morning runs. It should not come as a surprise to learn that you are surrounded by coffeehouses, cafes, and retailers everywhere you visit, as coffee happens to be one of the most popular drinks in the world, coming second only to water.
In terms of usage, it comes second to gasoline. The implication of this is that coffee plays an essential role in all sectors of society. Below is a look at what it does in the various roles that it plays:
1. At Home and in Cafes
Many people cannot picture themselves starting their day without a hot mug of coffee. In most cases, you will find that the normal household will start its day with a coffee mug shared among the entire family or between couples. Often, it is taken while reading the morning paper or together with a particular meal. The reason for this preference being that coffee can be relaxing, and that it makes it easier for one to get started with their day-to-day routines.
Coffeehouses stand witness to all kinds of relationships. Organisations, lovers, teams, couples, and friends will often schedule a coffee drinking session after every few days or weeks. The fact that there are new coffeehouses and cafes springing up open in each corner around the world is proof that many individuals use a visit to their nearest coffeehouse to relax, think about their problems, cry, or just talk.
2. At the Workplace
It does not matter the kind of work that a business is engaged in, the one common thing about all workplaces is the fact that there is always a coffee machine lying somewhere around waiting to be used. Coffee has over the years become an essential part of many workplaces regardless of their standing within the company.
For those that do not have coffee machines, you will find that they are always sending someone to the coffeehouse located at the corner to get them a steaming mug of coffee. This is because many of them are unable to work without having caffeine in their systems. The coffee helps to keep them awake as they go about their work.
Has Coffee Impacted the Society in Any Way?
1. Coffee Helped Promote Patriotism
Drinking coffee in colonial America was often seen as a loyalty symbol. This was in line with the ongoing revolution. As such, coffee consumption was seen as opposing the taxes that were being levied on the people by the British administration. Increased coffee consumption led to the discarding of the prudish British thirst-quencher at the Boston Harbour.
2. Enhanced Colonial Expansion
As increased consumption of coffee and the emergence of new coffeehouses continued, many colonial powers began to improve their production. This is something that saw them setup plantation farming in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and in Africa. It also led to the creation of trading routes and increased social and cultural interactions that were all facilitated by the increased coffee cultivation. However, it also had its negative effects, as the natives were often taken as slaves and forced to work on the plantations.
3. Coffeehouses Were Used by Revolutionaries to Trade Ideas
Once the brew was introduced in Europe, the coffeehouses and cafes that sprung up in France, Britain, and Austria were often used as meeting spots by all manners of people including radicals, artists, and intellectuals. Rumour has it that the plot hatched in the 17th century to assassinate Charles II was organised in a coffeehouse.
Would You Like to Have Coffee Sometime?
Having looked at some of the impacts coffee and coffeehouses have had on the society and world at large, it is important to remember that these cafes also act as great avenues for people going on their very first dates. The line “want to grab a cup of coffee sometime?” is one of the most popular first-date proposals across the globe today. The reason for this being that:
- Nobody hates coffee
- The atmosphere in many coffeehouses tends to be lively. In addition to the fact that the coffeehouses are not rowdy in any way, you will notice that they come in all kinds of styles: some are slick, others quirky, and others downright quaint. It all comes down to your tastes and preferences.
Another important factor to note is that coffeehouses and cafes, in general, tend to be cheaper and enduring compared to bars. Grab a couple of pastries to go with your coffee and you will be set to have a great time with your date.
Coffee shops and coffeehouses play an essential role in society as evidenced by the various examples discussed above. The brew itself is considered an essential social lubricant that helps people conduct business, communicate with others, have fun, and fulfil their everyday work obligations.