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The Coffee-House
 
 

The Coffee-House [Kindle Edition]

Markman Ellis
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Review

'Markman Ellis's fascinating and wide-ranging cultural history explores the evolution of the a phenomenon that started in Constantinople in 1554 and soon took the world by storm.' (THE INDEPENDENT)

'[In] this wonderful book... Ellis percolates a comforting cup of inspiration for the future.' (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

'[a] scholarly but always readable account' (DAILY MAIL)

'Markman Ellis has written a scholarly, well researched and thoroughly entertaining book. This is a hot, bubbling volume to be sipped and savoured.' (SUNDAY MERCURY)

'Detailed and meticulously researched... would interest anyone with an enthusiasm for social history.' (NEW BOOKS (May/June 06))

DAILY MAIL

'[a] scholarly but always readable account'

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I never knew coffee was so fascinating. 15 Sep 2005
Format:Hardcover
The title of this book does not do it justice - there is hardly an aspect of the history of coffee, let alone where it is drunk, that is not covered in this fascinating book. What's more, the author's lively style carries the reader along through all the twists and turns of the story. Who would have thought that the apparently harmless coffee-house would come to be viewed with such deep suspicion by the authorities? And the story goes right up to the present day,with the rise of the coffee-house chain. Watch out for the wicked picture of Starbuck's. Settle down with a good cup of coffee and enjoy a good read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This is a remarkable and persuasive account of the rise of a specific form of public sociality in 17th-century England: the coffee house, a seemingly unlikely blend of middle eastern and Protestant values, thrown into fruitful alliance by the presence of a stimulating beverage - 'the wine of Islam', as Markman Ellis characterises it - a drink that served to introduce the discipline of sober public discourse into a hitherto booze-sodden British life.

Coffee, the world's second-most traded commodity (after oil), provided the catalyst for a novel kind of mercantile wide-awake club which led, eventually, to marine insurance (through Lloyd's Coffee House) as well as to Starbucks and Coffee Rebublic, complete with their array of newspapers and magazines in imitation of their historical forebears. Ellis does a good job introducing the characters behind the rise of the coffee habit, as well as elucidating the various contested meanings of the drink itself, but he is particularly good at recreating the locations in which coffee was first consumed, and what the act of consumption meant to its earliest customers.

After reading this, your frothy latte will never taste quite the same again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 11 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As an academic work, Ellis' attention to detail, reliance on evidence and meticulous citations make the book a great read for anyone interested in learning more about the history of coffee and its cultural context. While one reviewer criticises the author for taking "more than 200 pages to begin to address coffee drinking in the 1800-1900s," I found the thorough treatment of the early impressions of coffee (when encountered by visitors to the Ottoman Empire) and its introduction to England to be a real strong point of the work.

Even a casual reader can appreciate Ellis' writing style as he often breaks from the traditionally "dry" historical accounts to include more humourous anecdotes. Similarly, he weaves a fairly seamless narrative throughout the text which makes it easy to follow on from one chapter to another. Still, the book is by no means a "fluff piece" so while a reader with no academic interests could certainly comprehend Ellis' narrative, they may not find it as interesting as another reader.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about coffee or even simply English history.
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Popular Highlights

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&quote;
There were many routes to enlightenment and the rule of reason in the eighteenth century, but the English one – moderate, civic and middle class – was understood to be through the doors of a coffee-house, armed with a newspaper. &quote;
Highlighted by 4 Kindle users
&quote;
In coffee-houses men from low stations in life read pamphlets and newspapers which engaged them in political debates on Church and State – a situation which conservative thinkers of this time continued to believe was improper and confused. &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users
&quote;
In contrast, the wakeful sobriety of coffee made the coffee-house the natural ally of this puritan ideology of work and labour. &quote;
Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

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