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Coffee shops ain’t nothing new

On the modern day high street, a revolution of coffee shops has transformed high streets the world over, but coffee shops are nothing new. In the Middle East in medieval times coffee was drunk in the ubiquitous public coffee houses – qahveh khaneh – which sprang up in villages, towns and cities across the Middle East and east Africa.

These coffee shops were the ancient world’s equivalent of Starbucks as they were places, that people went to socialise, witness dancing and music and to talk, perhaps gossip and maybe even to discuss the day’s latest news. Such was the importance of gahveh khaneh’s that they soon became known as ‘schools of the wise’, the place you went to discover the answers to your most burning question of the day. Perhaps it was here that the link between coffee and intelligent conversation was first created.

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