Maybe you did not grow up with this term, Zeitgeist. It's a fascinating word because it has different facets. I am going to explore zeitgeist as it pertains to coffeehouses.
Taking a moment, being cozy, chatting with a friend. "Let's meet at a cafe" It's that specific space: what you need, when you need it. Do you need to contemplate, do you need a political argument, or do you just need to see an old friend? It's the community that you want in the oldest, simplest form. So is the concept, Zeitgeist, the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time. Coffee houses started in the 17th century in London, when coffee went from being medicinal need to social habit. Unlike the pub, where alcohol flowed freely, the coffeehouse had an ambiance where discourse and conversation were central. Theory and speculation today says those early coffeehouses in England led to banks, financial markets and newspapers. Manchester, UK is said to be where the first financial market started, in a city filled with textiles, cotton and weaving.
Claiming to be the oldest coffeehouse in the world is Cafe Florian in Venice. Famous in it's day because it allowed women, which therefore attracted a lively set -- including Casanova himself. In 2015 more cafes will burst out of every tight spot in cities everywhere, I enjoy following this trend, and am always looking for the highlights. In London I follow 100 Cups of Coffee. I just love seeing the creativity that owner/operators dream up for our pleasure. Support your local cafe, and always take a moment in any city to try their local cafe. Quickest, easiest way to get a vibe of what that city, town or metropolis has to offer.