European Coffee Culture & The Armenian Influence

Coffee was first brought to Europe from Arabia. The Viennese claim that they looted sacks of coffee beans after the Ottomans withdrew following a failed siege in 1683.

Silver Coffeepot ca. 1740, Hungary. Collection: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It was an Armenian merchant, possibly born in Istanbul, who founded Austria’s first coffeehouse in 1685. Precious silverware was the perfect medium to serve this exotic beverage to fashionable and affluent patrons. The maker’s knowledge of contemporary Italianate Baroque architecture is clearly visible in the coffeepot’s shape: the body rests like a palace tower on an oval stand. The bold curved spout is closed with a hinged cover to keep the contents warm


  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  2. Fine European Silver. Sale cat., Sotheby’s, London, July 6, 1981, p. 44, no. 166.
  3. Judit H. Kolba. Hungarian Silver: The Nicolas M. Salgo Collection. London, 1996, p. 102, no. 79.

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