I told about five people that I was going to something called a death cafe — the reactions were mixed, but none was particularly positive. "Will it be full of goths?", "How morbid", "That's weird." The thing is that people don't just find talking about death uncomfortable — they find the idea of talking about death uncomfortable. In general, we just don't do it.
—Eleanor Tucker, "What on earth is a death cafe?," The Guardian (London), March 22, 2014
The idea for the café mortel was simple: the gathering was to take place in a restaurant, anyone could come, and Crettaz himself would gently marshall the conversation. The only rule was that there was to be no prescription: no topic, no religion, no judgment. He wanted people to talk as openly on the subject as they could. His first café mortel took place in 2004 in the Restaurant du Théâtre du Passage in the Swiss town of Neuchâtel. … In 2010, he held one in Paris which was reported in the Independent. Jon Underwood, a former council worker living in east London, happened to read the article and, inspired, held his own death café at his house in Hackney.
—Sophie Elmhirst, "Take me to the death cafe," Prospect, January 22, 2015