I love coffee primarily because of my associations with it – good conversations, political debates, and my mom. Coffee smells like my mother, who imbibed coffee every single morning.
Today is National Coffee Day, so here are a few of my favorite famous and international coffeehouses. And they’re favs because they are the home to sooooo much history!
Save this post for your next trip if you are a coffee lover too. Or a history lover, because if these walls could talk…
1 || Trieste
Trieste is a city that boasts the highest consumption of coffee in Italy. And it’s home to the legendary roaster Illy. Caffè San Marco offers a pulled espresso that is perfecto! This cafe also embraces its literary roots (including James Joyce) and opened a bookstore inside too.
2 || Istanbul
Coffeehouses were once found throughout this ancient Ottoman city, and Corlulu Ali Pasa Medresesi is a direct descendant of those renowned gathering centers. Their traditional Turkish coffee, wherein the grounds are boiled with water and sugar, is served in a long-handled cezve pot.
3 || Buenos Aires
Founded in 1884 in the Almagro barrio, Cafe Las Violetas is now housed in an elegant building from the 1920s with high, ornate ceilings, Italian marble, and beautiful stained glass. They serve mini-croissants called medialunas, meaning half-moons, with the coffee, and on the weekends, the café is open 24/7.
4 || Vienna
The kaffeehaus culture of Vienna is renowned. So renowned that UNESCO added it to its Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Artists, writers, musicians, and philosophers congregated at Vienna’s coffeehouses. Café Landtmann served Sigmund Freud regularly. And I hear they have fantastic apple strudel! I will be checking this one out in person next March!
5 || Prague
Opened in 1902 and closed for decades due to Soviet rule (which prohibited private businesses), Cafe Louvre reopened in 1992. It’s a fabulous place to soak up the history of the city. Albert Einstein and Franz Kafka both patronized Cafe Louvre in their days. In addition to coffee, you can also order svickova, a Czech national dish.
6 || Budapest
The most opulent coffeehouse on our list is New York Cafe. The place feels like a palace with marble, dark wood, and chandeliers. Editors of one of the most critical Hungarian newspapers sat in the upstairs gallery overlooking the lower level. Restored in 2006, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back to 1906. This one is also on the list for my visit in March 2023.
7 || London
I couldn’t pick just one coffeehouse in London (plus most of the oldest ones are now pubs.) St. John’s Gate in Clerkenwell housed a coffee house in 1703 opened by the father of the painter Hogarth – where they offered Latin lessons too! (Gosh, my mom gave me Latin lessons and a set of cocktail plates with Hogarth paintings!) There’s a rumor that speaking Latin was required when it first opened 320 years ago, but that that rule didn’t last long. (Neither did my mother’s Latin lessons). Lloyd’s, Garraway’s, and Jonathan’s were three famous coffeehouses that powered the British Empire. But check out this enticing coffeehouse tour in London by Dr. Matthew Green (whose book The New Yorker just highlighted!).
Hi, I’m Cassandra, a travel advisor! I get to know my clients really well. (I know if they like coffee, LOVE coffee, or only drink tea!) And then, I design experiences that exceed their dreams. Trips totally tailored.
Where is your favorite coffeehouse? Let me know in the comments!