Posted in Kafevend Blog

Learning with coffee

We have an interesting link between the past and the present here for you today on the Kafevend blog. Leaving tea to one side for a bit (we do seem to have gone on about it somewhat in the new year!), this blog concerns itself with coffee, and what you could see as something of a revival of an important role the coffeehouse once provided.

Penny university

The first coffeehouses in England appeared in the mid 17th century in the city of Oxford. As you might suspect, because of this Oxford played an important role in establising the coffeehouse culture that still persists to this day. The many thinkers, scholars, students and the like that Oxford played host to quickly became enamoured of the coffeehouse scene. Unlike the fees required to enter universities however, anyone could visit a coffeehouse for the price of a penny- a cup of coffee. Once there, they could participate in all manner of conversations and debates. News was also disseminated from coffeehouses, often with runners dashing between them to regale the patrons with the latest goings on.

Whilst the price might have gone up since then, coffeehouses these days still generally retain that air of a place of learning- whether or not any is going on. Those early Oxford coffeehouses have much to thank for that atmosphere. It looks like learning may be coming back to the coffeehouses however thanks to an initiative called PopUp College.

PopUp College

PopUp College was founded in 2015 in Cambridge by Jason Elsom. Since then, he has formed several partnerships with colleges around the country as well as with Costa Coffee. The idea is to provide a wide variety of courses for adult learning, including learning languages, arts and crafts, GCSEs and A levels and access to higher education. Prices vary for the courses, but there are many free ones on offer too. The big benefit is that these are all run from your local Costa Coffee- once it closes for the day, it reopens as a "pop up" college. This could make it easier for people who don't have easy access to a regular college due to distance, time or would be anxious about learning in a more formal atmosphere. Of course, one major benefit is the ability to order coffee and cake as you learn!

The scheme has yet to roll out throughout the entire country, but more and more Costas are turning into pop up colleges- you can visit the site in the reference below to see if there are any near you. We certainly hope to see more coffeehouses adopt the scheme or something similar, as it's only a good thing to give people more options!


PopUp College
English coffeehouses

Previous Story

Next Story