Top Things to Know about the Mostar Coffee Culture phenomenon

If you follow through you’ll learn about some fun and perhaps useful facts, that make a story and history of Mostar Coffee Culture. 

Puzzled about the social mystery behind the Mostar Coffee culture? We’re here to help! Your Mostar vacation  cannot be complete without emerging in the phenomenon of culture, social interactions and tasting rich flavors that Mostar cafe’s can offer. 

Are you on the Balkans cultural trip or a Bosnia and Herzegovina holiday which takes you to Mostar, where you nestle in a beautiful Mostar apartment, close to the iconic UNESCO protected Old Bridge? Or you are just passing through and have some time to spare to experience the beautiful country enveloped in the roasted coffee beads scent? No matter what’s the reason why you are here nor how long you are staying, we’d love to make your Bosnia and Herzegovina holiday worthwhile and memorable.  

One of the greatest ways to explore the country is through its culture and customs. Therefore, in this article, we’ll talk about an important cultural segment which binds us all together, warms up our mood and makes our days nice and smooth. If you’re looking for things to do in Mostar, you might want to explore some of the Mostar cafe’s. They offer far more than just coffee.  

So, are you one of those coffee worshipers who could not imagine surviving a day without this aromatic magic potion? If you are and the destiny took you to visit Mostar, here are some tips and insights that will help you make your Mostar vacation and accommodation majestic.

Black as a devil, hot as hell, it possesses the strength to wake up the dead and the energy to keep the planet spinning around. Yes, you are right, this article is about its majesty, Coffee or, more specifically, Mostar Coffee Culture.  

If you follow through you’ll learn about some fun and perhaps useful facts, that make a story and history of Mostar Coffee Culture. 

Coffee culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Where it all started?

Tracing its origin all the way back to Ethiopia, from where it was exported to Yemen and Middle East, coffee reached Istanbul, and with Ottomans and their culture it got to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 16th century, where it soon became famous and irreplaceable.  

People loved this warm dark beverage that boosted the energy and encouraged the social intercourse, and though in the beginning coffee was a privilege, consumed only amongst the rich, it shortly became hugely popular, and in no time, almost 500 years ago, the first coffee houses appeared in Sarajevo . They became the social life centers, where people gathered to talk, listen to music, play board games, etc., all accompanied with a cup of hot coffee. They were soon recognized as the vital centers for the information exchange, popularly known as „Schools of the Wise“.

The first coffee houses in the world, called qahveh khaneh, were open in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) in 15th century, but in 1511 coffee was banned here, since it was believed to excite curiosity and radical thinking. Almost simultaneously as in Istanbul, the first coffee house in Sarajevo was opened in 1534 and it was located in Bentbasha. Not long after, the coffee culture dispersed to Mostar and other towns across the country. And the first coffee house in Europe, outside of the Ottoman empire, was open in Venice, Italy, in the mid 17th century, almost 120 years after the ones opened throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Today, it is inconceivable that there exists a household where you would find no coffee. It even has its International Coffee Day, celebrated on 1st October. The biggest coffee drinkers in the world are Finns, who consume 12kg of coffee per person per year. Bosnia and Herzegovina is on the 11th place when it comes to coffee drinking, with 6,1kg of coffee per person per year.

And when it comes to the fairly long Coffee culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you have to understand that coffee here is rarely a solitary pleasure. It is typically enjoyed in a good company, relaxed, chatty atmosphere and cozy ambience. When we talk about things to do in Mostar, exploring the Mostar coffee culture is one of the best ways to feel the town and its residents. It is often said that the famous Mostar poet Aleksa Šantić  used to love enjoying coffee with friends in Mostar Old Town .     

The traditional Bosnian coffee in Mostar cafe’s

Traditional Bosnian coffee is a specialty in Bosnia and Herzegovina and many Mostar cafés still serve it, despite the recent rising popularity of espresso culture. The best traditional Bosnian coffee is freshly ground into a fine powder, that is then put into a special pot, called cezve or ibrik, and the boiled water is poured over it. Per wish, sugar is also added. The mixture is then put back to the burner, and heated till the coffee starts to raise. Bosnian coffee in Mostar cafe’s is traditionally served in small ceramic cups, called finjans, alongside sugar and Turkish delight, everything placed on an engraved metal tray. A glass of water is also brought, to sip it prior to sipping a coffee brew, so that the flavor of coffee is full and unspoiled and it could be properly enjoyed.

Some of the Mostar cafe’s with the best traditional coffee

For the ultimate experience and indulgence in the traditional Bosnian coffee in the authentic atmosphere, we recommend some of the Mostar cafes near the Old town, such as:

  • Cafe de Alma, a cute snug place located in the heart of the historical center of Mostar, specialized in a traditional coffee, prepared and served with love.
  • Summer garden Oscar, a popular place with a nice stone terrace, cozy seats and relaxed atmosphere.
  • The restaurant Divan, with the wonderful terrace and a beautiful view to the Crooked Bridge.
  • The restaurant Lagero, with great view to the Mostar Old Bridge.
  • Restaurant Sadrvan, a place with traditional food and authentic oriental ambience.

Now, a bit about the traditional terminology regarding Mostar coffee culture. Did you know that there are different terms for Bosnian coffee depending on the time when it is prepared?  

The first morning coffee, is typically strong, and it’s called „razgalica“ (wake-up coffee). The so called „dočekuša“ (welcome coffee) is the one that a host prepares upon a guest’s arrival. It’s typically strong and rich, unless you are not really welcome. Then, there is „razgovoruša“ (conversational coffee), typically served after lunch or cake. And there is an infamous „sikteruša“ (fairwell coffee, name originates from Turkish „sikter“ = go away), which a hostess serves when it’s time for a guest to leave. This one is made from a dry coffee sediment and it’s watery and awful, so that a guest knows he overstayed his welcome and it’s a high time to go. A late afternoon or evening coffee, that we drink quietly and peacefully, is called „šutkuša“ (silent coffee).

Espresso coffee culture in Mostar

Besides the traditional coffee, a good espresso is another local favorite and every respectable cafe in Mostar pays much attention to coffee making. Espresso comes in many varieties, long, short, double, cream, but among the most popular ones in Mostar is espresso with cream. If it’s properly made, the espresso foam should be so dense that when you pour in sugar it should remain on top for several seconds before it sinks to bottom of the cup.

The name espresso comes from the Italian word meaning „pressed out“ and it refers to the way coffee is prepared. It is often mispronounced as expresso, and it is wrongly believed that it’s referring to a quickly prepared beverage.

Mostar cafes where you can enjoy espresso with a view

So, if you are on your Bosnia and Herzegovina holiday, and you want to enjoy a good quality espresso as well as enjoy the true atmosphere of Mostar coffee culture, we recommend visiting some of the following Mostar cafes.

  • Nidje veze – close to the historical center, this cozy garden cafe at the left bank of the river Rodobolja is always busy because of its relaxed atmosphere and good quality food and drinks.
  • Kalamus – an urban cafe with a wonderful rooftop terrace, it is one of the locals’ favorite not only because of the view, but also for its good vibe and quality service.
  • Ima izac’ – this fairly new lounge bar is located just across the above mentioned cafe Nidje veze, and it features a nice deck terrace with a relaxing chairs and view to the river Rodobolja.
  • Bijeli Bar – there’s hardly anything better then enjoying a good coffee from the cute rooftop terrace with the unbeatable view to the Old Bridge of Mostar, and also a good place to watch Mostar Bridge jumps, highly recommended.
  • Jazzy Bell – or Next, as the locals still call it, is a cool little place, with a spacious terrace, and it’s a popular meeting point.

By the way, did you know that the most expensive coffee in the world is pooped by the Asian palm civet, an animal that feeds on the coffee berries but is not able to digest the beans? Coffee produced this way is called kopi luwak and it’s price ranges from 35$ to 100$ per cup, or 350$ and more per kilo.

Mostar coffee culture with an urban spin – Instant and Divka

Asides from the traditional coffee and espresso, instant coffee is another popular variety, especially amongst the young. In Mostar cafe’s it is typically Ness and it comes as hot or cold, classic or flavored.

And for those who love coffee but should not drink much of it, there is an alternative, made of chicory and barley. This blend is available in local stores under the name Divka or Bianka. This is a drink our grandmothers loved, and for a good reason –  it’s quite healthy, good for digestion and it lowers cholesterol. It is typically prepared with milk and/or sugar.

We’ll pause the Mostar cafe’s overview for a little trivia! Did you know that a cup of black coffee has only 1 calorie? But add to it sugar, milk, ice-cream, flavors etc. and you might end up with up to 600 calories per serving (large Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha has 470 calories).

Today, the greatest producer of coffee is Brazil, which produces almost 1/3 of the world’s supply. It’s followed by Vietnam. Two main types of coffee are Arabica and Robusta.

Mostar cafe’s and coffee culture – the cultural socializing phenomenon

Well, we hope that our fairly brief overview of Mostar Coffee culture and recommendation on Mostar cafe’s, will help you get the best out of your Bosnia and Herzegovina vacation and that you would have chance to truly experience the cultural socializing phenomenon, engage in good conversations, get familiar with the local customs and tradition, and feel the exciting buzz for which Bosnia and Herzegovina is famous, which you will, surely, cherish forever.

By the way, have you booked your perfect apartment for your Bosnia and Herzegovina holiday yet? Check up the link below for our recommendation on some of the best Mostar accommodation.

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