Coffee House Rendevous – Part 1

Found this groovy little film while surfing around on Prelinger Archives and couldn’t resist it. It offers a look at the basement beginnings of coffee culture among students in the 60s! Happening gathering places for students who may be on the fringes of counterculture but not yet part of the beatnik scene. Great footage, interviews that will make you smile and a few poetry clips to round out the experience.

A brief googling of coffee culture reveals interesting timbits from history to dunk in your coffee, including a few excerpts from this little gem: The world of caffeine: the science and culture of the world’s most popular drug.

What I learned:

  • coffee has been around (it seems) since 16th century (or maybe earlier)
  • it was introduced to Europe in the 17th century by the Turks
  • people gathered in coffee houses for imbibing, discussion and argument about the latest social/political event (not unlike a good coffee house today).
  • some people became suspicious of the drink.
  • women were banned from early coffee houses (except in Germany?)
  • a chance meeting between the poet Goethe and a young chemist, Runge led to the discovery of caffeine. (There is a lovely passage in the book excerpt linked above that describes one of their encounters).
  • prohibition was tried and failed.

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