?? One of Sarajevo’s best-kept secrets is the quality of the coffee served in the city. Its population lives on caffeine, many having coffee up to five times a day. The traditional way of serving the real Bosnian coffee, the Bosanska kafa, looks very much like the Arabic version, or the Turkish, where raw beans are first roasted then ground into a fine powder using a hand grinder.
Served on copper pots called dzezva, boiling water is added to the powder. The dzezva is put on a tray with a small ceramic cup called fildzan, white sugar cubes, and some pastries, most notably the rahat lokum (don’t call it Turkish delight, even if it looks and tastes just like it, after all, we are in Bosnia, not Anatolia).
Wait for the powder to settle before pouring the rich dark liquid into the cup. Try to have the heavy grinds staying in the pot to avoid getting your teeth black with grit. Do not even think of plopping the sugar cube in the cup. Instead, place it under your tongue to sweeten the coffee as you drink it. Sip slowly, enjoy the bitterness mixed with the sweetness (I drink it without any sugar but have a bite of the lokum or a dessert with it).
There are several coffee tales and folklore in Bosnia was well as names for the different times you drink it. For example, the morning coffee is razdremusa. The coffee you drink while chatting with friends is pricusa. When you visit locals, you are offered docekusa. Before leaving, you drink sikterusa. If you are having coffee and the person adds water to it, making it a doljevusa, it is because they want you to linger longer, to make the coffee cup last an extra few minutes, to keep the conversation going.
There are plenty of cafés all over town. The most atmospheric ones being in and around Bascarsija or the Viennese-looking one at the Hotel Europe. I recommend the Kuca Sevdaha because they also serve a delicious tufahija, the walnut stuffed apple. There is no reason not to be optimistic about life once the caffeine hits your bloodstream.
For more about Sarajevo’s enduring optimism, read this article from the New York Times. Just click here. And my Sarajevo tips are on TravelVince Sarajevo.