Coffee tables are also sometimes known as cocktail tables. But where did the name originate? I mean why not tea tables or wine tables. Is it because it's the most popular drink in America and you just add it to “table” and it stuck ever since? Or is there more to it? Well let's first look on why coffee became the choice drink of America.
Ottoman Turks introduced the beverage and the word “coffee” to Europe, where it eventually spread to America. Because of that some say that they also introduced the “coffee table” as well. But that is not confirmed. Coffee started to grow more and more in popularity not only in America but all over Europe it already had a strong following. After the 1812 war, Britain put a ban on all imports of tea to America. So Americans naturally drank less and less of tea and more and more of coffee. Finally coffee in America seemed to get that edge over tea that is hasn't lost since. But where does the table come in?
The original coffee table, simply put, is a regular table with its legs cut off to make it lower to the ground. The Japanese already had these short tables figured out a long time ago. But as the Japanese were sitting on the floors with their legs crossed, the coffee table was to be used with a sofa. It's not very clear as to the exact time that the modern term “coffee table” came to use, but some put it around the late 18th century to the early 19th. Whatever the case, if it was the decision of the British, or even Chinese, we'd be calling it “tea table” today. And actually in those lands they do often use that term. But as the fact stands, the cup that most often lands on American tables is filled with coffee, and so the name has stuck.
So here we have it, the modern coffee table, now more popular then ever. And it's true it doesn't really matter where it gets its name, I mean some people won't even let you put coffee on their supposed “coffee” table. But it's just neat to see how things have come a long way and evolved through time.