From East to West

Although knowledge of coffee drinking came through travellers’ accounts of the coffeehouses of Ottoman Constantinople, Aleppo and Baghdad and Safavid Isfahan from the late 16th century onwards, the first coffeehouses in Europe were those opened in Oxford and London in the early 1650s.

Map of the Coffeehouses, showing 19 coffeehouses in London in the 1700s, drawn by Adam Dant in 2013.

Pasqua Rosee’s coffeehouse at St Michael’s Alley, Cornhill in the city of London was opened in about 1652 through the agency of his employer, a merchant of the English Levant Company, Daniel Edwards. Both Edwards, who imported the raw material into London, and Rosee, his servant, had firsthand experience of coffee culture in the Ottoman trading city of Smyrna (modern Izmir) and their coffeehouse sought to commercialise and replicate it in the mercantile centre of London.

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