I would like to say, "I'm going to the cafe" in Latin, but the best I can come up with is "Eo ad cafe." What would be a good choice for "cafe"? I'm not sure if a similar concept existed in Ancient Rome (e.g. with other food/beverages), so there's a good chance I will be asking for a modern word or neologism. But whatever you think is the best choice - and gets well supported - should make me content.

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    Hint: Non curamus quid sit humus !
    – blagae
    Jun 20, 2017 at 19:47
  • I would add that some render coffee as cáf(f)ea, whereas others, such as L. Ranieri, prefers caffḗa (youtu.be/rWj77VoWVgo?t=392).
    – Canned Man
    Feb 21, 2022 at 0:33

4 Answers 4


There have already been a few answers, but I have always liked the Morgan and Silva Furman University Lexicon, so here are the terms it gives for "cafe":

  1. thermopolium, -i, n.
  2. taberna cafearia
  3. cafeum
  4. cauponula
  5. deversorium
  6. taberna caldaria
  7. domus cafearia

This corroborates Ben Kovitz's answer, and provides several other options. The last few options were listed under "cafe/coffee-house," which may add a little variety.

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    If you want to emphasize the connection to coffee or other hot drinks (café as opposed to a bar), you might want to add an adjective. I know, thermopolium cafearium is clumsy, but depending context, you might want to avoid ambiguity.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jun 21, 2017 at 8:39

I would suggest that if the Romans knew about coffee, it would most likely come via Greek, since coffee originated even further to the East in Ethiopia. The Modern Greek word for "cafe" is καφενείο, so I would suggest remodeling that as a Classical Greek καφενεῖον and then Latinizing that. I think either caphenion or capheneum would be acceptable.

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    Yes, but the Romans did not know about coffee. Coffee did not reach Europe until the 17th century.
    – fdb
    Jun 20, 2017 at 21:56
  • @fdb: The OP wanted a reasonable term for "cafe". I'm sure he/she knows (just like we do) that the Romans didn't have coffee.
    – varro
    Jun 20, 2017 at 22:05
  • If you had written: "If the Romans had known about coffee, it would most likely have come..." I would not have objected. It is about English grammar.
    – fdb
    Jun 20, 2017 at 22:21
  • @fdb: OK - fair enough. I did hesitate about the grammar, but thought it was clear the way it was written.
    – varro
    Jun 20, 2017 at 23:05
  • “...the Romans did not know about coffee.” — Ay, what a pitiful life. Jun 22, 2017 at 1:28

De hac re nullam auctoritatem superiorem scio quam @NemoOudeis, qui vocabulum taberna caffearia sive in brevi taberna scribit:


  • Nice discovery!
    – ktm5124
    Jun 21, 2017 at 2:25

Ainsworth's Dictionary (abridged) of 1758 suggests kuphipolium for coffee-house, and kupha for coffee.

  • Welcome to the site and thanks for the answer! (+1) This is an interesting find, although I'm unsure how many modern Latinists would understand these words.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jun 21, 2017 at 12:13
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    You're welcome. I'll add a link to the book. (I am lucky enough to have a physical copy of the first edition, found in a second hand bookshop.) Jun 23, 2017 at 17:44

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