Coffee culture is the set of traditions and social behaviors that surround the consumption of coffee, particularly as a social lubricant. The term also refers to the cultural diffusion and adoption of coffee as a widely consumed stimulant. In the late 20th century, espresso became an increasingly dominant drink contributing to coffee culture, particularly in the Western world and other urbanized centers around the globe.
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The culture surrounding coffee and coffeehouses dates back to 16th-century Turkey. Coffeehouses in Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean were not only social hubs but also artistic and intellectual centres. Les Deux Magots in Paris, now a popular tourist attraction, was once associated with the intellectuals Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, coffeehouses in London became popular meeting places for artists, writers, and socialites, as well as centres for political and commercial activity. In the 19th century a special coffee house culture developed in Vienna, the Viennese coffee house, which then spread throughout Central Europe.
Elements of modern coffeehouses include slow-paced gourmet service, alternative brewing techniques, and inviting decor.
In the United States, coffee culture is often used to describe the ubiquitous presence of espresso stands and coffee shops in metropolitan areas, along with the spread of massive, international franchises such as Starbucks. Many coffee shops offer access to free wireless internet for customers, encouraging business or personal work at these locations. Coffee culture varies by country, state, and city. For example, the strength of existing café-style coffee culture in Australia explains Starbucks's negative impact on the continent.
In urban centres around the world, it is not unusual to see several espresso shops and stands within walking distance of one another, or on opposite corners of the same intersection. The term coffee culture is also used in popular business media to describe the deep impact of the market penetration of coffee-serving establishments.