Coffee Culture in Zagreb
Without any doubt, coffee is the most popular beverage in Zagreb. A traveller visiting Zagreb for the first time will instantly notice that the city is full of cafés, in which any day, at any time, you can see carefree people chatting over coffee as if time stood still. Here, coffee is a social phenomenon. Let's have a coffee is actually a password, an invitation to socialize. Like many other things, the new trend of drinking coffee and sitting at coffeehouses came to us long ago from Vienna. But influences came from two other sides as well: from Italy and from lands under the Ottoman Empire. Surrounded by strong coffee-drinking traditions, people of Zagreb got acquainted with several different ways of preparing coffee; they developed an advanced taste and simply learned to appreciate quality. Even though sometimes it seems that the whole coffee ritual is more important than what's in the cup, nobody will tolerate bad coffee.
True Zagrebians have their favourite neighbourhood café, where the waiter knows exactly what kind of coffee to serve them, but they also have their favourite downtown spots, when going for a coffee turns into going out on the town. The most popular time for a coffee is the so-called špica, or the peak. It is a local custom taking place on Saturday mornings, when crowds of people from all walks of life swarm the terraces on Cvjetni trg (Flower Square) and the surrounding streets to see, be seen and comment the events of the past week. Over the last few years, a very active specialty coffee scene has appeared, involving small specialized roasteries that source and blend top-quality beans from all parts of the world, making coffee aficionados very happy. Whichever style of coffee you prefer – espresso shot, long, latte, Turkish, macchiato or cappuccino – Zagreb cafés and bars will be ready to serve it. You just have to unwind and slowly enjoy a cup of the beverage that makes an essential part of Zagreb lifestyle, preferably in company, or at least over a newspaper.