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Armenian Merchants and the Origins of European Café Culture

Ina Baghdiantz McCabe

Dr. Baghdiantz McCabe examines the Armenian origins of Europe’s first cafés in Paris and Vienna.

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August 2017


Armenian Merchants and the Origins of European Café Culture

A staple of European social life today, coffee was virtually unknown in Europe until the 17th century when coffee merchants introduced it to locals by opening the first cafés. Dr. Baghdiantz McCabe examines the history of these initial cafés which changed the social life of major European cities. Here, she traces their origins to Armenian merchants from New Julfa, Iran, who opened the first cafés in Paris and Vienna and gave coffee the reputation it has today.


Dr. Ina Baghdiantz McCabe is a Professor of history and the first holder of the Darakjian and Jafarian Chair in Armenian history at Tufts University. She is the author and editor of several books and numerous articles. Her publications have been on different themes, the merchants of New Julfa the silk trade, the spice trade, slavery, diaspora, travelers and orientalism, yet they are all transregional studies which focus on economic and intellectual exchanges within Eurasia in the early modern period. Her work has been supported by several fellowships, including one at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard.