The Culture of Coffee drinking in Belgrade
How did it come to exist?
Why is coffee so cherished in this region?
In order to find out, keep on reading…
But First...How did coffee grains even reach Serbian soil?
Well...as for many things that are so deeply ingrained in our culture, the culture of coffee consumption came to us thanks to the Ottoman Turks. For those who’re not history geeks, the Ottoman Turks ruled over this entire region for about 5 centuries and they brought many customs which we accepted and adapted to our own way of living. Such was the case with coffee.
The funny thing is that after Belgrade was conquered by Suleiman the Magnificent it took us only a year to open the first “kafana” (tavern) in Belgrade. There, of course, they served this slightly bitter yet addictive drink, now commonly known as Turkish/Domestic coffee. This was a place where travelers and tradesmen came to rest, so in accordance with that, this tavern was located in Dorćol (the oldest municipality of Belgrade, its name comes from Turkish-meaning the junction of 4 roads, leading to important trade centers at that time).
As we so took to this culture even back then, it’s only natural that it only continued to grow as time went by. Not much changed with respect to the kafanas, they were, and still are places that are thought to connect people of all kinds of backgrounds who have the same goal in mind. That is, to share thoughts and ideas or simply to converse and feel connected to the community.
Only one big change happened during the 1970-is...and that is the coffee shops (kafići). These places took our love for coffee to the next level. That was the time when Belgradians started experimenting with coffee. We were introduced to espressos and different types of coffee grains and so on. It didn’t take long for these coffee shops to spread throughout the city and become an essential part of our days.
Coffee is loved and cherished in Belgrade, we drink it day in, day out. But we don’t love it just because of its delectable aroma and taste, what really cemented our sentiment towards this drink was the invaluable time spent with friends and family conversing over a cup of coffee. It blended in with our love of community and our friendliness and thus became an inseparable part of who we are.
In a way, this magical drink encourages you to talk and connect. Nowadays that seems to be one of the most difficult things to achieve with our busy lifestyles and the way the world is progressing towards alienation. So if you’re in Belgrade, try to slow down, experience coffee as we do, as that will truly bring meaning to your trip. That is precisely what‘s made so many people fall victim to the charms of Belgrade.
Don’t take it from me, take a look at what one of our famous novelists had to say on the topic and judge for yourself: “The spirit of Belgrade is that feeling that you are at home, that you cannot be ruined because you are among your kind, that at any time you can borrow some change, love, a roof over your head and a necessary accomplice before dawn.”
If this was enough to somewhat convince you, in the following weeks we'll be presenting you with a list of best places to indulge in a cup of coffee in Belgrade.