In Europe, at the end of the Seventeenth century,
the cafes were places for sharing
ideas and exchanging informationand gossip:
basically, they were the social networks of the time!
The spreading of the cafes, however,
was not welcomed too enthusiastically by a part of society
– just like social networks are now:
the coffee houses were seen as keeping people for productive work,
as far as to say that the cafès represented
“the ruin of many serious and hopeful young gentlemen and tradesmen”, in pamphlet of 1672 entitled
“The Grand Concern of England Explained”.
In fact, the time spent in cafeterias was not "wasted":
they were used as post offices and political, social platforms,
not to mention that a great variety of people met there
to sign commercial deals and enhance business opportunities.
One example among many is Edward Lloyd’s coffeehouse,
a popular meeting place for ship captains, shipowners and traders,
which became the famous insurance market Lloyd’s.
The best deals are signed in front of a cup of coffee!