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What is a Coffee House?


Definition: A coffee house (or "coffeehouse" or "coffee shop") is a cafe-like foodservice establishment focused on serving coffee and offering a sociable environment for people to gather in small groups or relax individually.

Coffee House Menus

Coffee houses often offer French press coffee, iced coffee, espresso shots and various espresso drinks (such as caffe lattes). The focus is typically on regular coffee and on espresso-based drinks, though some coffee houses also offer many other drinks, particularly teas.

It is common for coffee houses to serve light snacks, such as pastries, or even light meals, such as sandwiches or salads.

In addition to the food and drink menus, coffee houses in the Middle East and in Middle Eastern coffee houses elsewhere in the world may also have a shisha menu. Also known as nargile, shisha is flavored tobacco that is typically smoked in a hookah.

Coffee House Environments

Like bars, coffee houses have a long history of offering environments in which people can easily socialize amongst their own groups and (often) with strangers. This is reflected in language; when people say "meet for coffee," they primarily mean meet to socialize or talk. Historically, coffee houses have been places where people gather, chat, work, write (in particular, the writing of local newspapers), read (in particular, the same local newspapers that were written in coffee houses) and pass the time. Today, coffee houses are much the same -- it's merely that ink and paper have been often replaced with laptops and newspapers have been replaced by blogs.

The layouts of coffee houses often include smaller nooks and larger, more communal areas. In a more crowded coffee house, it is common for strangers to sit at the same table, even if that table only seats two people. Coffee houses are typically cozy, which encourages communication amongst strangers.
Also Known As: coffee shop
Alternate Spellings: coffeehouse

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