Kiva Han
November 3, 2009 2:48 AM   Subscribe

Where is the first coffee house in the world?

I'm told it's a place called Kiva Han in the suburbs of Istanbul. Has anyone visited, seen, or discovered any details on the history or location of this place?
posted by xanthippe to Society & Culture (4 answers total)
Google is your friend.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:30 AM on November 3, 2009

Not this time, EC - in this case, Google leads you astray. Galata Kiva Han is an Anatolian restaurant, not a coffee house, and is a coffee roaster in Pittsburgh. I suspect the original Kiva Han no longer exists.
posted by zamboni at 6:58 AM on November 3, 2009

True on the links to the locations, but one of those links also will take you to the history of the original place, and "details on the history" was also one of the questions.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:20 AM on November 3, 2009

from Wikipedia:
The Ottoman chronicler İbrahim Peçevi reports the opening of the first coffeehouse in Istanbul:

"Until the year 962 [1555], in the High, God-Guarded city of Constantinople, as well as in Ottoman lands generally, coffee and coffee-houses did not exist. About that year, a fellow called Hakam from Aleppo and a wag called Shams from Damascus came to the city; they each opened a large shop in the district called Tahtakale, and began to purvey coffee.[1]"

Various legends involving the introduction of coffee to Istanbul at a "Kiva Han" in the late 15th century circulate in culinary tradition, but with no documentation.[2]

Coffeehouses in Mecca soon became a concern as places for political gatherings to the imams who banned them, and the drink, for Muslims between 1512 and 1524. In 1530 the first coffee house was opened in Damascus,[3] and not long after there were many coffee houses in Cairo.

In the 17th century, coffee appeared for the first time in Europe outside the Ottoman Empire, and coffeehouses were established and quickly became popular. The first coffeehouses in Western Europe appeared in Venice, due to the trafficks between La Serenissima and the Ottomans; the very first one is recorded in 1645. The first coffeehouse in England was set up in Oxford in 1650 by a Jewish man named Jacob in the building now known as "The Grand Cafe". A plaque on the wall still commemorates this and the Cafe is now a trendy cocktail bar. [4]
posted by jammy at 9:32 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

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