willkommen-in-germany: In Germany, coffeehouse…


In Germany, coffeehouses were first established in the Nordsee (North Sea) ports of the North, including Bremen in 1673 and Hamburg in 1677. Initially, this new beverage was written in the English form “coffee” – in the 1700’s the Germans gradually adopted the French word Café, transliterated as Kaffee. In the 18th century, popularity spread around the German lands, and coffee was taken up by the ruling classes. It was served at the court of the Great Elector, Frederick William of Brandenburg, as early as 1675, but the first public coffee house in Berlin opened only in 1721. Composer Johann Sebastian Bach, who was cantor of St. Thomas Church in Leipzig between 1723 and 1750, conducted a musical ensemble at the local Café Zimmermann. Sometime in 1732-35 he composed the secular Coffee Cantata “Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht”, in which a young woman pleads with her disapproving father to accept her devotion to drinking coffee, then a newfangled fashion. The libretto includes lines such as:

Ei! wie schmeckt der Coffee süße, Lieblicher als tausend Küsse, Milder als Muskatenwein. Coffee, Coffee muss ich haben, Und wenn jemand mich will laben, Ach, so schenkt mir Coffee ein! (Oh! How sweet coffee does taste, Better than a thousand kisses, Milder than muscat wine. Coffee, coffee, I’ve got to have it, And if someone wants to perk me up, Oh, just give me a cup of coffee!)