April 25, 2008

Cafe Baum

coffee baumThe oldest coffee house in Europe beside the Parisian “Café Procope” is to be found in Leipzig, Germany. In 1694 Heinrich Schütze opened the “Coffe Baum” in 4 Kleine Fleischergasse and gave out free coffee.

Over the following three centuries, many notable personages met here and enjoyed the popular drink. Gottsched, Klinger, E. T. A. Hoffmann or Wagner were often seen going in and out. Goethe, Lessing, Bach and Grieg were also known to be guests there. In the Schumann Room situated on the ground floor, Robert Schumann would meet with friends at his regular table between 1828 and 1844. Revolutionaries such as Blum, Liebknecht and Bebel also made “Coffe Baum” their second living-room. In 1990 Helmut Kohl and Lothar de Maizière discussed the possibilities of reunification here.

The sandstone sculpture above the doorway to “Coffe Baum” is especially famous. An Ottoman offers cupid a cup of coffee. It symbolises the meeting of the Christian western world with the Islamic East. No other than Augustus the Strong was supposed to have donated this sculpture as way of saying thank you to the landlady, who had taken immaculate care of him.

One of the most important coffee museums’ worldwide is to be found on the third floor. Over 500 chosen exhibits from 300 years of Saxony’s coffee and cultural history are presented over 15 rooms.