Carl Schmitt and Jurgen Habermas are, without a doubt, the most (in)famous political theorists to come from Germany since Marx. (One might want to include Leo Strauss, but I don't think he wrote anything of substance on coffee.) As is well-known - many of us get our introductions to Habermas via his Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere - Habermas associated the development of the salons and coffee-houses with the development of the public sphere, located between the spheres of 'family' and 'state.' Coffee, for Habermas, was essential to the development of liberal, bourgeois and democratic politics. Much less well known is that Schmitt also wrote on coffee, the bourgeoisie and liberal democratic. His assessement of coffee and liberalism is nearly the opposite of Habermas'. Their respective assessments of coffee present interesting grounds upon which to judge and compare the anti-liberalism of Schmitt with the pro-liberalism of Habermas. Interestingly, it is worth noting that Schmitt's notes on coffee (1947-51) predate Habermas' book on the coffee-house (orig. 1962) by over a decade and coincide with the end of Schmitt's internment and interrogations at Nuremberg. While Habermas engages in a lengthy - if albeit surprisingly ambivalent - confrontation with Schmitt in the Structural Transformation, he does not cite Schmitt's notes on coffee (most likely because they were not widely available, even in Germany, until 1991).
Extracts from Habermas' Structural Transformation and a discussion of Schmitt's Glossarium notes on coffee by Jakob Norberg 'below the fold.'