The coffee houses have a long history in Budapest. Coffee culture began during the time of the Turkish occupation in the 16th century, and flourished under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. While many think of Paris and Vienna as the café capitals of the world, Budapest rivals them both with its cafes filled with talented writers, poets, and artists. On the turns of the 19th and 20th century was more, than 300 coffees in Budapest, all of them having permanent visitors, who met sometimes only in their favorite coffee. There was a coffee for the journalists, vendors, butchers, carpenters, bankofficers, actors, artist.. practically to all layers of the society. The price of the coffee suprisingly was more or less the same in all of them, but the audience. Coffees – similarly to thermal baths – were the sceneries for social life.

Though many were closed under the communism, several of the historical cafes have been restored and are once again teeming with life. Ruszwurm , located in the historic Castle district of Buda, is the oldest operating café in the city. Its famous cakes and coffee even caught the attention of the Austrian Empress, Elizabeth, who supposedly had Ruszwurm cakes sent to her for breakfast. Centrál Kávéház is considered one of the grandest of the historical cafes and was once a center of intelligence, attracting writers, poets, editors, and artists. New ideas were discussed and many literary works were born here. The first classic coffee house to reopen after the fall of communism in 1989, Centrál has recaptured the feeling of grandeur.

Among Budapest’s coffees the legendary New York Café is probably the most famous. In the middle of the 30’s people told  ‘After the war let’s meet at New York!’ told people to each other during WWII in Budapest. This elegant and glamorous  historical coffee houses was opened in 1905, and After it’s opening it became headquarters to many of the great literature, there were constant rented tables for poets, writers, journalists who could drink there on credit, sometimes paying the bill with an article or poem. When taking an American friend for coffee there, she said that, “having coffee at the New York Café is like having coffee in one of the ballrooms of Versailles.” In the middle of the 30’s people told  After theatre let’s meet at New York!’,  but soon the phrase sadly changed to  ‘After the war let’s meet at New York!’  In 2006  New York Café went over a total renovation, wich brought back its original shine and finery, gilding, chandeliers of Murano glass, restored murals and marbling. examples of Art Nouveau, while the coffee is  of  neo- renaissance-style.

And finally let’s talk about  the Gerbeaud, which once upon a time was called „the meeting point of six elegant worlds”.  In the success of the Gerbeaud the elegant interieur always played  an important role. Everywhere fine woods, marble and bronze, the ceilings is decorated with rococo plaster work in Louis XIV style, while the chandeliers and wall lamps were created in Maria Theresa style. When opening Gerbeaud in 1881 had secessionist style tables sent from the Paris World Fair, and the coffee with whipped cream was served in  fine China cups, the chocolates and cakes were offered on shiny silver trays. Over the past 150 years, Gerbeaud Café has numbered among its guests the cream of society and practically every famous person who has visited Budapest. Just a few names from the notable guest: Empress Elizabeth (Sissi),  Ferenc Deák, Franz Liszt, King George of England, Edward, Prince of Wales; Josephine Baker, Princess Diana, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Elizabeth II, the former Austrian chancellor Franz Vranitzky, the former Czech president Vacláv Hável, Madonna, Ralph Fiennes, Melanie Griffith, Antonio Banderas, Brad Pitt…

Historical coffee houses are not the only place in Budapest to experience the coffee culture. The Hungarian capital is filled with cafes and coffee houses to meet everyone’s personal taste. During warmer weather, many cafes open their outdoor terraces so you can sit and people watch while sipping your cup of coffee. Walking down any of Budapest’s pedestrian streets, you can find cafes filled with people, showcasing the vibrancy of the coffee culture.