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31 Oct 16

Through the Eyes of a Gen Y: The Hunt for Good Coffee

Emma Krstic

The Serbian capital is not short of cafés, but despite the huge popularity of coffee-drinking, a good cappuccino is harder to find.

Photo: Facebook/Przionica.

Belgrade is a city that appears to run on coffee, and its café culture isn’t just thriving, it’s rooted in society.

Walking around the city centre, it’s quite amazing that on any given day the innumerable coffee spots all seem to have customers, whether chitchatting among friends, tapping away on laptops, immersed in a book or just watching the world go by.

But while life seems to revolve around a steaming cup of this rich brew, it has proven rather hard to find a good one in this city. Well, anything that involves a shot of espresso, that is.

History plays a part in this. Having been under Ottoman rule for nearly four centuries, some signs of this past remain, such as certain shared words and a preference for Turkish coffee.

But anyone after a good Italian-style espresso will have to really hunt around, while a decent cappuccino is extremely elusive (unless you prefer it with the milk brutally frothed and served in a dome-shape reminiscent of Saint Sava cathedral’s roof).

To save you the search, here are five places you’ll find top-notch coffee around Belgrade.

Przionica (Dobracina 59)

Tucked down a street full of factories in Lower Dorcol, this micro-roastery opened its doors four years ago and is representing ‘third wave’ coffee, a movement focused on quality that turns the drink from a commodity to an art form and baristas into gods.

This little gem has perfected the minimalist industrial vibe and the casual, cool staff plus the DJ set-up make Przionica a happening, hipster place to hang out. (Note: the sparse seating and no tables mean it’s not ideal for sitting down with a newspaper or good book.)

Soljica (Trg Nikole Pasica 5)

This small coffee house is easily overlooked as just another of Belgrade’s many cafes, but, like Przionica, it’s doing its bit to develop the speciality coffee market in Serbia as well, offering a choice of beans from the far reaches of the world, including Brazil, El Salvador and Burundi.

Aviator Coffee Explorer (Gundulicev venac 59a and Cara Nikolaja II 19)

This coffee oasis really appreciates a good blend and its extensive menu features varieties of coffee beans from exotic locations including Guatemala and Ethiopia, plus, they also have a variety of contraptions on hand demonstrate alternative ways of brewing the drink.

The array of plants decorating Aviator’s two locations – in Lower Dorcol and Vracar – create a feeling of being in a greenhouse, while there’s also a delicious spread of ‘light lunch’ options to choose from.

Koffein (Uskocka 8 and Cara Dusana 65)

This popular haunt serves up coffee varieties from Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica and seems to have a loyal fan base as I often spot regulars sitting at the tables. The larger venue at Uskocka 8 comes out on top for its cosier interior and greater amount of outdoor seating. It’s also worth trying the macaroons here – they’re particularly good.

Super Natural (Gospodar Jevremova 23)

While best known for its fresh juices and smoothies, Super Natural in Dorcol also does a darn good coffee. Its corner location becomes a busy meeting place on evenings towards the end of the week, where a crowd of people often take over the sidewalk. The staff here are also super friendly and seem to take a lot of pride in making sure what they serve up is of the highest quality.

This article was published in BIRN's bi-weekly newspaper Belgrade Insight. Here is where to find a copy.

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