Slovenia is a small country with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world (I’m not biased, honestly…), a bunch of crazy traditions (anyone want to snack on some dormice?), and a constant need for coffee.
Like every country, we have our own customs when it comes to our aromatic brews. Yet these are evolving as we open up to the possibility of specialty coffee.
Read on to discover what coffee means to Slovenians – and how it’s changing.
A country whose coffee is almost as great as its scenery. CPhoto credit: Rtvslo.si
Slovenia’s Coffee Traditions
In our country, there’s no time of day in which coffee’s not a good idea. Forget about going to sleep easily; we like to drink it in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. We also say it makes you prettier (come and visit – you’ll see that it’s true) and that adding lemon will cure headaches.
I think you get the picture: we’re coffee-addicts.
Even the purists among us tend to swear by Turkish coffee. Everyone owns a (preferably handmade) cezve, usually from Bosnia or Serbia. And everyone has a secret recipe based on how many times you have to stir the brew, how many times you have to reheat it, and whether or not to add sugar to the water.
Espresso-based drinks are also common. Thanks to our shared border with Italy, you’ll find cafés complete with beautiful espresso machines on every corner. Lattes, macchiatos, you name it, we drink it and love it.
Yet when it comes to the coffee beans we use, we haven’t always been so informed. Although hand-grinding was common, the choice of coffee used to be quite limited; it was normally, given that we also border Austria, dark Viennese roasts. And then some people still bought roasted and ground coffee.
Maribor, Slovenia – A city that lives off coffee. Credit: SkyScraperCity
The Third Wave Hits Slovenia
Yet over the past year, specialty coffee has broken into Slovenian coffee culture – and it’s booming. My girlfriend and I, as travelers and heavy coffee drinkers, were lucky enough to be there at the beginning. One day, we had the opportunity to stick our noses in a bag of freshly roasted specialty-grade coffee – and that was it! We were hooked. After watching numerous YouTube videos our pantry was overflowing with the products of coffee subscriptions and strange, mostly Japanese, brewing equipment.
Yet our friends thought we were losing it, and specialty-grade coffee beans were very, very hard to get. We were keen to give others the same sensation that we felt with that first bag of coffee.
So we decided to open our very own specialty coffee shop, Jumping Goat Coffee, complete with Slovenia’s first ever dedicated brew bar. We concentrate on filter brewing, make our own cold brew (available on tap), and of course sell specialty coffee beans from independent European roasters, with the roasters changing every four months.
Jumping Goat Coffee: Slovenia’s first ever brew bar. Credit: Rok Stibler
Seeing our customers’ faces as they smell that delicious aroma, and take their first sip of specialty-grade coffee, makes all the risk and hard work worthwhile.
And today, we’re no longer the only specialty coffee outlet. We’re seeing the spread of Third Wave, not just throughout our town, but throughout all of the country. Coffee shops are becoming a meeting point for specialty coffee lovers, young and old. More and more brewing equipment is being sold. Specialty-grade roasteries are opening all over Slovenia, and home roasters are also entering the Third Wave community. All of us are united by our eagerness to make the best cup of coffee possible.
Jumping Goat Coffee’s bottled cold brew. Credit: Andrej Firm
So what’s next? Well, here’s to a future where Slovenia’s constant craving for caffeine is united with a growing knowledge of the art and science behind the cup, where the Chemex joins the cezve in people’s homes, and where filter becomes as common as espresso.
Written by R. Stibler and edited by T. Newton.
Perfect Daily Grind.