Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Coffee Time

Coffee Time
The Penny University.( Like Google+ )
Instead of paying for drinks, people in the eighteenth century were charged a mere penny to enter a coffee house.
Once inside, the patron had access to coffee,
the company of other customers, pamphlets, bulletins, newspapers, and news ‘reporters.
These reporters were called "runners" and they went around the coffee houses announcing the latest news, like we might hear on the radio today.
Before television advertisements and bulletin boards, people visited coffee houses to hear about the newest developments and business ideas. ( Bit like Google+ )

One of the most unusual aspects of this environment was the eclectic groups of people that ran into each other at a coffee house.
In a society that placed such importance on class and economical status, the coffee houses were unique because the patrons were people of all levels.
For example, a merchant could converse with a prominent businessman.
Anyone with a penny could come inside. Students from the university’s also frequented coffee houses, often spending more time at the shops then at school
It is easy to imagine the wide range of ideas that were produced as a result of this intermingling of people.
The term “Penny University” is often used in reference to the eighteenth century coffee houses because of this reason.
Coffee houses encouraged open thought and gathering of community. This environment, which was so conducive to intellectual discovery, could almost be called a school of social learning.
To some people this was probably more of a school then rigid classrooms where people could not step out of a particular social role.

Picture Vintage Arabic coffee making contraptions like this one (photographed at a coffee shop on the corner of Al Gumhoria and Mohammed Sabry Abu Alam streets, near Al Abdin Palace) remain in operation. Credit @

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