From all the hot drinks, coffee is by far the most popular in Romania.
We Romanians have an old, strong and stable relationship with coffee. So very often you will hear somebody saying: Let’s meet over a cup of coffee! Which actually means that we want to see our friends and socialize.
Most Romanians, drink coffee at home, what we call “cafea la ibric” (pronounced: café-ah la ee-breek) meaning that the coffee is brewed at home usually on a gas stove. Usually we don’t use a coffee filter machine or other brewing method, we just boil the water, add 1-2 spoons of coffee for each cup, depending on the size, sugar if we want, we boil it quickly and that’s it. It’s similar with Turkish coffee, but we use larger coffee pots.
In the big cities, things are a little bit different. There are many fans of specialty coffee; this is the reason why specialty coffee is growing very fast for several years now. You can find lots of small, hippy, interesting, cozy cafes, hidden on the back streets. I love the vibe in the cafes, people enjoying their coffee outside on the few seats available, chatting with their friends. There are many cafes with no more than 10-12 seats and with baristas that enjoy sharing more about coffee with their customers.
Specialty cafes appeared around 2015 (might have been also 1-2 years before) and it was then when third wave coffee started to gain ground over usual coffee and growing ever since. How many specialty cafes are in Bucharest? I’ve lost count. And even if I knew, there are always opening new ones. So I don’t keep count of them, I only test the new ones :).
Some of the newest cafes are:
- Drip Coffee (near Carol park area)
- Narcoffee (AFI Cotroceni mall)
- BOB Coffee Lab (near Herastrau park)
From a coffee-drinker perspective, in cafes the coffee beans are most commonly from Ethiopia, Rwanda and Guatemala. This does not mean that you don’t have other options for specialty coffee, but these are the first that come to my mind from what I’ve tried, and I’ve tried several.
Because we enjoy our coffee, don’t be surprised if you see Romanians drinking coffee even in the evening. We like coffee so much that it does not matter at what hour we drink our coffee.
Briefly, what you should know:
1. We drink coffee any time of the day or the night
2. We like to socialize and we use coffee as an excuse to meet our friends
3. It’s perfect after lunch or dinner (see also no. 1)
PS: For more about our coffee culture, you can try our Hungry for History tour