Part Two of my Coffee Shop crawl, check out Part One here.
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!
This place is so small that I walked past it three times trying to find it. I thought it was down an alleyway so ventured down a few, thought I’d found it but didn’t seem to be it. Although the place I thought it was was pretty cool and was tempted to stop there but I knew I had to pace myself with my espresso shots. Okay, the argument could be given that I just didn’t look properly because when I found it, I was standing directly outside of the place looking around like an a seafarer with my hands up to my eyes, squinting.
This cute tiny little place must have had a facelift because I was expecting clinical white in the pics I saw. However have to say I prefer the colour scheme now. Black matte paint, ambient lighting, mirrors lining the seating wall, very cool not just because I’m a secret goth. Eliscaffe is touted as the the number one coffee place in Zagreb, the entrance adorns the quote “You are now entering an evolution area…” and you know something, I agree whole heartedly. When you have your espresso served in a mug that says “No logo… Just taste”, there are two ways it can go. It could either be orgasmic or no frills Ryanscare flying. Thankfully for my senses sake it was the former. Damn it was good. So good. Clearly this place was about the coffee and their passion for coffee. Don’t see it as a place to chillax an afternoon away working, writing or any other nerdy stuff. This place is about making the barista smile because you are smiling because your heart is smiling.
I really needed a place to sit down comfortably, secluded to do some writing. It was the day after the World Cup semi final and I just had to write down my thoughts on what I had witnessed. So was really hoping “In The Yard” was going to be the place.
Again, not too far away from the main city centre, but then again Zagreb is not a big city by any means. However this place as was usually the case, tucked away down an alleyway. No signage and appearing you are literally walking onto someone’s back yard. But then you see this haven, shaded by trees, open and free terrace, with some pretty cool wall art. I sat down where the most shade was, brushing away the fallen tree debris, knowing that I would spend at least an hour here.
The barista was a totally rad guy, loved his cool accent, reminded me of the barista I’d met in Portland. Anyway as I was writing decided to have a flat white. Now, I’ve been spoilt by some amazing silky smooth flat whites recently so was pleasantly surprised by how good this tasted.
Sipping away totally contempt with my surroundings and coffee, I was doing my usual mix of writing and people watching. There was this one guy, pretty loud, must have been from Australia or New Zealand but rolling around lying on the benches like he owned the place. Shit, maybe he was the owner, but didn’t care for his travel plans for the next two weeks. I mean who gives a fuck. Adjacent to me was a young hip attractive girl with an American accent also typing away, which was cool. Wonder what she was writing about? And then you had some locals coming and going which was lovely to see. A mother with her baby in a pushchair gently rocking as she both entertained and drank her coffee. All of this gives you a sense how serene this place was. If I lived here could totally see myself spending a lot of time here working.
Inside the decor was your usual urban vintage industrial vibe story, cosy nonetheless. As I was there for at least 45 minutes by now I ordered a double espresso. As a guy who has worked and had a business in the hospitality sector, nothing more annoying than customers sitting at your premises and not buying anything. Granted it was not busy but still it’s a matter of respect. I loved the fact I got a fresh ice cold glass of water again. Nice touch! As I was deep in thought and focusing on what I was writing, I took my first sip of my espresso without knowing. My eyes suddenly opened wide and literally mouthed, “What the fuck?!”. This coffee was amazing! The taste just hit me like a dominatrix with extra attitude shouting at me, “You will enjoy this coffee, oh you will!”. With its subtle sweet flavour and smooth texture I wanted to know where this coffee from. Little did I realise that this place is intrinsically linked to the the next place on my journey. But before that make sure you head to the toilets, not the cleanest but the rainbow unicorn artwork on the walls will make you smile.
So the place I just left is actually one of the original coffee places that were serious about their coffee and in fact were Cogito’s HQ. Their second location right in the city centre tucked away and hidden from the Main Street, proved a perfect end to my crawl. I did walk right through it not realising I did, it wasn’t until I did a u-turn saw their board on the pavement. Google maps was buffering. Not because I can’t read a map. Honest.
It was clear they were going for a different vibe compared to the yard place due to is location and definitely a great place to have your caffeine fix before, during and after the working day. It works. Really does. Inside it’s quite small with couple of large communal tables which is awesome. Outside they have have lined the walls perfectly with little tables perfect for either couples or lone coffee drinkers like myself. Perfect for people watching. You already know what the coffee tastes like. But I repeat. Beautiful. I also had some of the freshest orange juice ever, maybe I was biased due to the heat and walking, but it really quenched my thirst. Service also as I have always found here in Zagreb was just lovely.
The three places on this entry are easily my favourites, and after a bit of research it is pretty much everyone’s top five. I simply cannot argue with that. I left a piece of my heart in Zagreb, so I do need to go back and it won’t hurt to have a cheeky Espresso while I’m there. Peace & Love.
Check out more Coffee Sessions Here.