Lidija By 


When it comes to coffee, I’m not that easy to please (please, no innuendo or questions of any kind). I’m quite a demanding client. I want high-quality coffee, in a nice cup, a heart made of foam, a cozy atmosphere with a view of something nice, an ashtray that keeps the cigarette from falling out, water in a designer glass, a smile and a few nice words from the waiter (Here you go, young lady…). I think I’m entitled to that since I’m a huge addict. An admirer of the magical beverage. And I would gladly part with a few extra kuna to achieve that luxury.

There are some places in town that will provide some of these criteria, but, unfortunately, few offer all of the above. In Living Room café in Arena Center, the guys always call me Young lady… and that’s totally fine. And the coffee isn’t bad either. :-)

Short, long, espresso, with a dash of hot milk, a dash of cold milk, white coffee, cappuccino, macchiatto… The offer doesn’t follow my enthusiasm so if I order one of these, I usually get a classic, drab cup with the producer’s logo, filled to the brim with milk and light-brown foam that’s giving me suspicious looks. I can only dream of heart-shaped foam. Let alone take a photo of the cup for Instagram. There are countless cafes in Zagreb, probably as many as its citizens and hair salons, but only few offer truly high-end coffee. In a (more or less) cozy ambient.

Scandinavian chic

Express bar is a small café in the very center of the city, where you can enjoy excellent coffee. Over the summer, I enjoyed lounging on the terrace (street coffee style), and during winter, I find a warm spot inside, where you can smoke (of course) (ahhh, vices…)… Somehow I feel as if no one can find me. And so I sort out my thoughts in peace. All alone with my first morning coffee. And my cell phone. The interior is so typically Scandinavian: light wood, a bicycle on the wall… If you need an exotic feel, and not only when it comes to coffee, you’ll find it in the attractive offer of coffee blends. You can choose among various kinds of Brazilian, Ethiopian, Colombian, if those differences mean anything to you. If you’re more of a European free spirit, make sure to try the blend from the most famous Berlin roastery, The Barn! Or simply order a latte. And enjoy!

Express bar, Petrinjska 4

The temple of caffeine

Eli’s Cafe is located in the most prominent street of Zagreb and decorated in a minimalist fashion – ideal for the (recently numerous) tourists from the Far East, since the small space will make them feel as if they’re standing in their own living room (as good as the Scandinavians will feel in Express Bar – see above). It was not marked in my usual route so I went to Eli’s on purpose this summer to try the “best coffee in Zagreb”, as the city analysists claim. It was worth the try to stand outside as a smoker, sweating at 40 degrees Celsius (I know, it sounds so weird now), to sit on a narrow bench by the window and listed to the trams screeching on the tracks. An exotic experience. But as far as I’ve heard (read), Nik Orosi, owner of Eli’s, the most successful barista in Croatia known as no logo, just taste!, will soon be opening another location with a smokers’ area. He promised that – on Instagram.:-)

Eli’s Caffe, Ilica 63

Double pleasure

At the most beautifully named city square, Cvjetni trg (“flower square”), you can have coffee in countless cafes, but they also offer a lovely view of flowers, children, and pigeons. You’ll find excellent coffee in a small café, hidden in a passage and decorated in the industrial, somewhat hipstery style. I often have coffee there since it’s near my office. Not so often now in the winter months since you can’t smoke in the only room, which has a single huge table for socializing (which is cool). But they make truly amazing coffee at Cogito Coffee Shop. The concept was devised by two Matijas. The story goes something like this: having realized that there aren’t enough coffee roasteries in town, one of the Matijas opened a roastery in Jurja Žerjavića Street, right next to Cafe u Dvorištu, which was opened by the other Matija. Having recognized their mutual love of coffee, they decided to team up and to transfer their knowledge and experience to other citizens of Zagreb and all tourists who happen to drop by.

Cogito Coffee Shop, Vlaška ulica 11, (Cafe u Dvorištu, Ulica Jurja Žerjavića 7/2)

The center of the world

Hidden from prying eyes, Dežmanova Street has become a true mecca of cute little places: boutiques, design shops, concept stores and galleries, cafes, skating parks… If you haven’t thrown a party in Velvet, you’re not a true (Zagreb) big shot. Recently, Dežman bar found its place here as well, an excellent new bistro run by a team of expert gastronomes, as the Zagreb lifestyle portals say. But it’s worth mentioning it in terms of coffee as well – since their offer is excellent. There you’ll meet famous faces, celebrities, actors… Tourists from around the world will feel good there, too, since they’ll be able to enjoy two blends of high-end Arabica – Brazil and Ethiopia – and a single Guatemala, as well as Austrian punch, Italian grappa, Japanese whiskey, home-made wines and schnapps, and Brazilian and Venezuelan sandwiches. Have I forgotten any country? Oh yes… and croissants (with Nutella!). Pardon my French!

Dežman bar, Dežmanova 3

Coffee with a number

As far as I’m concerned, I sometimes really do feel as if I drink more than 42 coffees a day. But the number in the name of this café probably doesn’t indicate the daily intake of coffee, but a feeling of sitting in one of the numbered streets of Manhattan while drinking coffee they make in good old Trieste. In the cozy ambient of 42 Coffee Co., located in the second most typical street of Zagreb, (old) Vlaška, where it’s hard to find a parking spot (and even get there if you’re not a pedestrian or live nearby), they serve top-notch coffee and guarantee pure pleasure. The lovely waitress will chat with you about all the wonders of coffee (I ordered a latte, and she kindly suggested ordering an espresso if I want to truly estimate the quality. Please, let me know which blog you’ll be publishing this on.) I ordered a latte nevertheless, but I’m definitely going back for an espresso!

42 Coffee Co, Vlaška 42

Photo: Lidija za MLZ, Mateja Vrčković (Eli’s Caffe), facebook

Translation: Nevena Erak

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *