Coffee house

Coffee house: The oldest coffee shops around the world

The term “coffee house” is also known as al-maqhah in Arabic, or Kahvehane or kıraathane in Turkish, Kafana in the old state of Yugoslavia or now in the Balkan states, café in French/Portuguese, cafetería in Spanish, caffè in Italian and Kaffeehaus in German.

Historical taste of espresso

This kind of place intended for social gathering found its way to Europe in the 17th century, and later around the world, leading us to nowadays version, like Starbucks or similar.

Historical records say that the world’s first coffee house, named as Kiva Han, was opened in Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1555.

Many of the old coffee houses have disappeared, but some of them have survived and are still in use today. Few of them are presented below.

Baratti & Milano Caffe is one of the most beautiful old Italian coffee houses, placed in Turin. It was founded in 1858 by Ferdinando Baratti and Edoardo Milano with the name “Fornitore della Real Casa” (Supplier of the Royal House). In 1875 it has moved to its present location.


Caffe Florian is the most famous Italian coffee house placed on the Piazza San Marco in Venice. It was opened by Floriano Francesconi in 1720 using the name “Venezia Trionfante” (‘Triumphant Venice’) but was later renamed in honour of its founder Floriano Francesconi.


Pedrocchi Café is another famous Italian coffee house located in Padua. It was started by Franceso Pedrochin in 1760. The Pedrocchi Café is one of the biggest coffee houses in the world. It is placed in a magnificent 19th century building in the center of Padua.


Caffe Greco is also one of the Europe’s first coffee houses, opened in 1760 by a Greek, Nicola della Maddalena. It is located in the famous Piazza di Spagna in Rome.


Michael’s Alley Coffee House is England’s first coffee house and was opened in Cornhill London in 1652. It is still unclear to this day who was the first proprietor and his origins. This coffee house is famous for being the first known coffee advertisement or prospectus in England with an original document, ‘The Virtue of the Coffee Drink’, which is still displayed in the British Museum.


Queen’s Lane Coffee House is a historic coffee house dating from 1654 located on Queen’s Lane, which is an old street in central Oxford, England. It was named after Queen’s College. It is a popular coffee house with both Oxford University students and tourists.


Cafe Le Procope is acknowledged as the first true coffee house and the oldest restaurant in Paris. It was firstly located at the heart of the famous Quartier Latin. It was opened in 1686 by Sicilian Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, a former lemonade vendor, on a street then known as rue des Fossés-Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Today the coffee house sits on the rue de l’Ancienne Comédie. Throughout the eighteenth century the Cafe Le Procope became the meeting place of the intellectual establishment. It may be the birthplace of the Encyclopédie, the first modern encyclopedia. Closing its doors briefly in the late 1800’s it remains today as one historical landmark of Paris.


Café Reggio is a small coffee house placed in New York’s Greenwich Village, opened in 1927. It is also known as “the original Cappuccino bar” because the owner Domenico Parisi imported and installed the first espresso machine in the United States.


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