The following is from a travel guideboook. I'm particularly curious about the meaning of "sweets." In the context of a coffee house, it is unlikely to refer to candy or dessert. What could it mean?

The 1369 Coffee House is... Both branches serve mostly caffeine drinks and sweets – with sandwiches at lunch.

I speculate sweets here refers to cakes, cookies, etc. But this sense of sweets is not found in the dictionary.

(Taken from the comments)

The whole passage is as follows:

The 1369 Coffee House is as community-based as Starbucks is corporate. The original Inman Square branch has a more interesting cross section of ages and ethnicities but Central Square has sidewalk seating. Both branches serve mostly caffeine drinks and sweets – with sandwiches at lunch. This is from an Eyewitness Travel Guide.

  • it is pointless to speculate what sweets means without a little more context. Could you please provide a reference for the quote (ideally a link), or at least specify what country the coffee shop is in, and the nationality of the author? – JavaLatte Jul 16 '17 at 10:07
  • Just guessing, but, at a coffee house (in the US), I would regard “sweets” as something like coffee cake, donuts, muffins, or cinnamon rolls. – J.R. Jul 16 '17 at 10:59
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    You are either overthinking it, or not consulting enough dictionaries. sweet (noun) a confection made from sugar or high in sugar content; a food eaten for dessert; sweet dishes served at table such as puddings or tarts; a food rich in sugar. – J.R. Jul 16 '17 at 11:18
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    @Apollyon What do you find when you look up "confection" in your dictionary? – ColleenV Jul 16 '17 at 12:07
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    @Apollyon - I think you're asking too many questions in the comments and furnishing too few details in your question. – J.R. Jul 17 '17 at 15:09

I found several definitions of the word "sweets", and I think they fit well to the context.

As a personal observation, I happened to enter places called "coffee shops", just to be surprised by their offer:

  • large variety of coffee drinks;
  • large variety of tea-based and tea-like drinks;
  • large variety of pies, cookies, cakes;
  • others (maybe, I never intended to make an extensive research on this topic).


Candy, also called sweets or lollies, is a confection that features sugar as a principal ingredient.


sweet (n.) = something that is sweet to the taste, such as a food (such as a candy or preserve); having a high sugar content fill up on sweets; British : dessert, hard candy

Oxford Dictionaries

sweet (n.)

  1. (British) A small shaped piece of confectionery made with sugar.

    • a bag of sweets
  2. (British) A sweet dish forming a course of a meal; a pudding or dessert.

Cambridge Dictionaries

sweets (plural noun) = sweet food, such as candy or cake

  • Rosie tries to avoid sweets.
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It is very easy. In British English, we use the word "sweets". In American English, we use the word "cookies" in place of "sweets" in British. We use the "desserts" as a course meal like something sweet and full of sugar.

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  • 1
    Cookies is not the same thing as sweets. – ColleenV Jul 16 '17 at 20:36

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