Établissements Classiques de l'Arc Lémanique

About Café ECAL

Rating and Preserving the Best Historical Cafés

The best historical cafés in Europe have welcomed some of the greatest writers, poets, musicians, and actors since the late 17th century. Their legacy remains an inseparable part of historical and cultural landmarks. They have stood the test of time and are still alive in our minds as symbolic and cultural epicenters with countless stories to recount.

Established in 2018, ECAL has championed the mission to preserve the heritage of European coffee houses. We invite coffee and history lovers to embark on a journey by discovering some of the best historical cafés in Europe.

From Paris to Budapest, we aim to safeguard the legacy of each café, ensuring the continuity of their historic traditions and awarding the most exceptional locations.

There are many criteria which we hold every historic cafe accountable for. Historical cafe owners have the responsibility to uphold tradition in the broadest sense of the word. Everything must be done to restore the cafe as closely as possible to its original allure from the furnishing, to preserving lighting fixtures and original paintings. Anything that can be of historical value should be treated with utmost regard.

They should also promote traditional dishes that reflect a historical era and geographical culture. The menu should reflect the epitome of local cuisine and should really tell a story. Although modern twists are acceptable, dishes should still draw a clear line to the original dish.A definite bonus is maintaing original coffee brewing traditions or perhaps events that typically took place within the facility.

Finally, no historical cafe can be deemed as such without the location value. The cafe must be located in a building of historical significance. Most importantly, we appreciate owners that go above and beyond to tell the story of their cafe through educational decor, events and the overall presence they project.


Did you know?

  • Grain The first mention of coffee in Europe dates to the 16th century in Italy. Its origins can be traced back to the early 13th century in Ethiopia, Yemen and Egypt.
  • Grain The name Mocha refers to a region in Yemen.
  • Grain The name Arabica was given to the beloved plant species in the 7th century when its beans travelled from Ethiopia to Yemen and Southern Arabia, hence the word “Arabica”.
  • Grain Java is the name of an Indonesian Island.
  • Grain 42 coffee beans are required to make a single espresso.
  • Grain Voltaire, the French philosopher is said to have been drinking fifty cups of coffee a day.
  • Grain Contrary to popular beliefs, Italy is not the top coffee-drinking country in Europe, Finland is.
  • Grain With a little over a million tonnes of coffee imported in 2017, Germany was the biggest coffee importer in Europe. It imported twice as much as the second biggest coffee importer, Italy, with half a million tonnes.
  • Grain Most of the coffee imported in the European countries comes from Brazil and Vietnam.
  • Grain In 2016, The European Union imported a total of 2.95 million tonnes of coffee.
  • Grain The first coffee house opened in 1334 in Istanbul.
  • Grain Coffee intake is associated with a lower risk of strokes
  • Grain Coffee was first sold in Europe in 1615 … in pharmacies! Back then it was considered a medicinal remedy.
  • Grain Coffee is the second largest traded commodity in the world.
  • Grain The word “espresso” comes from Italian and means “expresses” or “forced out”. Espresso is indeed made by forcing hot water under high pressure through finely grounded and compacted coffee beans.
  • Grain Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world. From Indonesia, it is essentially made from beans digested by the Asian Palm Civet. It is sold for 350 euros and up per kg.

Europe's Top Coffee-Drinking Nations

Ecal graph

*Per capita consumption of coffee in 2017 Source:

Our Historical Café Coffee Route

From Budapest to Porto, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Prague, Berlin and China, eight countries are already participating in our recommended historical coffee route of best historical cafés in Europe. Discover century-old coffee houses full of historical impact while enjoying the most delicious coffee and gourmet delicacies.

maps historical cafe

1 – La Closerie des Lilas, 171 Boulevard Montparnasse, 75006, Paris, France

2 – Majestic Café, Rua Santa Catarina, 112, 4000-442 Porto, Portugal

3 – Central Cafe and Restaurant 1887, Károlyi utca 9, 1053 Budapest, Hungary

4 – Cafe Chris, Bloemstraat 42, 1015 TB Amsterdam, Netherlands

5 – The Antico Caffe Greco, Via dei Condotti, 86, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

6 – Café Slavia, Smetanovo nábřeží 1012/2, Prague 1, Czech Republic

7 – Cafe Buchwald, Bartningallee 29, 10557 Berlin, Germany

8 – Kipos Café, Str. Tzanakaki, Chania 731 34, Greece

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