Coffee in Europe

This article was written by Phin Upham

It took a long time for coffee to come to Europe. Before the early 1600s, most coffee was to be found in the Middle East. Coffee houses would be the ideal places for business to have been conducted, and European travelers did enjoy the liquid, but made no serious attempts at importing it.

Venice was the first city in Europe to seriously import coffee, and the location of Europe’s first coffee house as well. The shop was called Caffe Florian, and it was opened in 1683.

Both Venice and Marseilles had known about coffee before, but there was no interest in trading beans in either place. The British loved coffee and they took to it swimmingly. Although famous for their love of traditional English tea, coffee shops started sprouting up all over England. Oxford was the site of England’s first coffee house, opened by a Turkish Jew named Jacob.

When coffee came to Vienna, it was only after the city had been besieged by war. A Polish officer claimed the stocks of coffee for himself after the Turks abandoned it. Being the only person to know how to brew coffee, he took the stocks and opened a coffee house in Vienna.

Coffee was so popular throughout the 17th and 18th centuries that there was estimated to be more coffee shops then than there are today. These coffee shops weren’t like your local Starbucks either, they were boisterous like a pub.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.