Was so good to be back in Zagreb, Croatia. Not only to see my colleagues whom I consider friends again, but this time I had enough time to explore the city’s thriving coffee shops. This time not only was the weather sublime, but also coincided with Croatia’s historic World Cup semi final victory. So while I wasn’t working or celebrating I conducted a couple of coffee shop crawls. Boy did I find some gems! Get your walking shoes on as we’re going all over the place in the city. Also, do yourself a favour and get some insect repellent spray. Seriously, even though I had my hairier than normal arms covered, I still got bit all over the place by the little fuckers. Trust me you are going to want to bask on the terraces while pouring some yummytastic caffeine into your mouth.
There are so many coffee shops in the city. Try it, open up google maps in Zagreb, search coffee shops and watch the many red spots appear. Most though are just your typical cafes and bars serving the nation’s popular Franck coffee or world known Illy or Lavazza coffee. Whilst nothing wrong with that, even my list below has a couple of hangouts serving the usual. I did however wanted to uncover the places where the owners had a true passion for coffee, roasted their own beans, blended their own mixes, performed latte art on my espresso macchiato, took passion in the décor and vibe. It was that type of coffee session I wanted and needed. The following locations were sourced from travel blog lists, some from trusty google maps, and one by just walking around. Love to hear your favourites!
Quahwa Coffee Lovers Only
Having arrived on a Sunday catching an early morning flight I decided to head to the city and find a place away from the hustle of the main streets, desperate to just relax in the shade with a coffee and smoke. This was by the way after my midday weekend nap nap. A 15 minute Uber trip later I was dropped off near the main square close to a place I checked out on google maps. All I saw was the wording “coffee lovers only”. Tucked off the main street down an alleyway, where by the way you should totally explore when you see these alleyways, was for me a true hidden gem. It’s like walking towards a mirage only for it to be real with its wooden sign, little bushes adorning a spacious yet cosy, quiet terrace. Sitting down I smiled as soon as I glanced at the menu immediately knowing that this was going to be awesome.
After glancing through the menu having heart eyes over the pictures and all the different types of drinks on offer I decided to kick things off with an espresso macchiato. Sitting in the terrace waiting for my order was lovely, few other patrons relaxing, couple of families and other lone coffee lovers clearly on the same vibe as myself. Looking around I noticed that this place was bigger than appears, with the terrace forming an L shape around the perimeter of the building. My thoughts wondering how lively this place would be on a Friday night, especially with a little live music.
But before I explored inside, I sipped on my first drink. Delicious. Lovely and sweet, like yours truly. For my second drink, I dared to be different, they sold me with a photo of a vanilla flavoured mini laté drink I saw in the menu. The green appearance made me think it was mint flavoured, like an after eight coffee. So when sipping and not tasting the mint but the vanilla instead kind of fucked my mind a little. Actually in truth it made love with my mind.
Japanese matcha coffee anyone? Whaaa?! It looked beautiful but didn’t try as not a fan of the flavour. If you are then I can imagine this would be divine for you.
Upon paying up I ventured inside to release the tank and gave me a chance to check out the interior. Loved the way it was decorated up, has a cool industrial African vibe going on, and there’s even a further secluded place upstairs which looked like a snapshot from a hipsters home furniture store. Could see myself whiling away a few hours here writing. After taking a few snaps and thanking the awesome staff I headed towards the hipster street known as Marticeva Street.
Apparently it wasn’t long ago that this area was an industrial road lined with auto parts shops and well pretty shitty. Now though it’s known as the design district lined with wine stores, organic local produce, designer furniture stores and probably the most iconic image of this area, Coffee shop stroke library called Booksa.
My original intention was to visit Booksa, take a picture and send to a friend of mine. She is a coffee fanatic like me but has a super duper talent of writing and mastery of the English language. You should totally check her out for any writing needs you have or may have.
However as my eyes glanced past the cool coffee library I noticed some lovely furniture adoring the terrace of a cafe. When you see a full blown carpet rug outside in front of lime green sofa stools and flowers, you cannot just ignore it.
Program Bar serves some lovely Lavazza coffee within some truly unique decor I have ever seen in a coffee lounge. If I could give it a name, would definitely be a Fashion Coffee House. Although the summer weather is amazing, and great to sit outside, you do sometimes miss the vibe of the decor inside these places. Make it a point to at least spend some time inside these places, it’s clear so much passion and effort has gone into making this place looks amazing. Plus I just love the name. Program Bar. Reminds me of the 80s.
Heading back towards the main square I wanted to finish this first day on a high with a quick plain unadulterated espresso.
As its name suggest this place is perfect for you down a shot or two of some gorgeous tasting coffee. Literally adjacent to the main square, great busy atmosphere of tourists and locals. They do have a terrace outside to watch the world go by. However I stayed inside, sitting at the window in front of some plants, looking at my coffee smiling. That was nice, smooth whilst slightly sweet and in turn licking my lips, sipping water, wiping mouth, paid up and thanked the friendly team. The was another reason I was smiling. I felt a sense of punk rock vibe going on here. Maybe it was a coincidence that Death or Glory was being blasted, but the giveaway was the barista. With her rocking hair, to the point service, dark eye shadow, in some ways she represents Zagreb to me. New wave punk attractiveness with attitude but once you smile, the smile and friendliness back is what captures your heart. Well maybe I’m alone in this thought because I also secretly love punk rock chicks.
With a pretty much caffeine explosion going on in my brain, decided to continue the crawl on another day. Check out Part 2 for where I was lucky enough to leave the best till last! Peace & Love.
Check out more Coffee Sessions Here.