INTRODUCING THE CROATIAN COFFEE
Croatians love their coffee. Forget a café on every corner—here, entire streets are lined with café bars. Coffee-drinkers fill the bars, looking—and no doubt feeling—at home. They sip their coffee, with or without a cigarette; on their own, or with friends. It doesn’t matter if they have company; it’s a pleasure enjoyed either way.
Coffee culture in Croatia is distinctive. It’s not Italian, it’s not Turkish, and it’s not even Austro-Hungarian. Instead, it’s an eclectic mixture of all three. So how did that happen?
The Ottomans had a long history of trying to conquer the region, going back to 1443. In fact, they spent over 100 years fighting the predecessors of modern Croatia. These numerous attempts led to the introduction of Turkish coffee—and with it, the drawn-out social ritual of talking, gossiping, or doing business over coffee.
MORE ABOUT THIS TRADITION OF THE CROATIAN COFFEE
Today, the Turkish method is still by far the preferred way to enjoy coffee in Croatian homes, particularly when visitors come over. It’s still made in the traditional method, using the long-handled, narrow-spouted old-school coffee pot. The traditional coffee of choice is a super finely ground 100% Arabica medium roast from the Minas region of Brazil.
Some aspects of the tradition have changed, however. In the Islamic tradition, it was reserved for men. Yet since the passing of the French Revolution, women have patronised coffee shops in Croatia. More recently—in fact, even just a generation ago—villagers would roast their own beans in a pan over an open fire. They would then hand mill the beans in a traditional brass device: a task that took hours and was often reserved for children.