Coffee culture describes a social atmosphere, or a series of associated social behaviors that depend heavily upon 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 form of such a culture, particularly in the Western world and urbanized centers around the globe.
The culture surrounding coffee and coffeehouses dates back to the 14th century Turkey. Coffee houses in Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean were not only social hubs but artistic and intellectual centers as well. 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 centers for political and commercial activity. Elements of today's coffeehouses such as slower paced gourmet service, tasteful decor and prime locations for social activities like open mic nights have their origins in early coffeehouses, which continue to form part of coffee culture.
In the United States, coffee culture is often used to designate the ubiquitous presence of espresso stands and coffee shops in the Seattle Metropolitan area, along with the spread of business franchises such as Starbucks. Other aspects of coffee culture include access to free wireless Internet for customers, many of whom regularly do business or personal work in these locations for hours. Coffee culture varies by country, state, and city. For example, the strength of existing café-style coffee culture in Australia explains Starbucks' poor performance on the continent.