A Quick History of Coffee, Part 2
The Arabian Peninsula, where Sufi mystics drank their coffee, was the center of international trade in the medieval world, and by the 17th century, merchants had introduced the drink to Europe, where coffeehouses became places for social gathering and for discussing world politics and local gossip.
For the price of a penny, customers purchased a cup of coffee and admission. These spaces are closely associated with the intellectual and cultural history of the Age of Enlightenment. They acted as a secondary sphere to the University, and in contrast to the Alehouse, they fostered serious conversations about everything from politics to natural science.
Newspapers even sprang up around the coffeehouse culture. One notable example was The Athenian Mercury. Starting in 1691, bookseller and publisher John Dunton commissioned a fake history of the Athenian Society, as a way to bolster his latest publication, The Athenian Mercury. He even drew up an emblem, which showed a philosopher, a physician, a poet, a mathematician, a lawyer, a civilian, and a 'chirurgeon' (surgeon) and others — all gathered around with coffee pots, quill pens, and blank sheets of paper.