Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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kaffeehaus afternoons like the Viennese. Located halfway between Vi- enna and Venice, Ljubljana's coffee scene has long been overshadowed by these international café destinations. Yet, the third wave of specialty coffee has at least reached Ljubljana, where specialty-grade roasteries are popping up hawking beautiful single origins, and independent cafés serve carefully crafted drinks to increasingly discerning customers. Finally, the fi rst annual Ljubljana Coffee Festival debuted to great success in 2018. C A F É O K L Ask any Ljubljana local where to fi nd good coffee, and the fi rst café on their list will invariably be Café Č okl. I was warned, however, that I would not receive a cup of coffee here, but a "cup of awareness." With a bit of trepidation, I weaved my way through the city's open-air market, and into an unassuming café, set apart only by its green door. In the warmer months, Café Č okl is fronted by a heavily occupied collection of outdoor tables. Here, Slovenians and the odd tourist lounge, sipping on macchiatos. Heading into the dark interior, though, is where the magic happens. At the counter, I was asked my order, and I responded, "What's good?" The barista raised her eyebrows knowingly, and went to retrieve Tine Č okl, the café's owner. Tine has an effusive and infectious energy, and he has a habit of handing out free caffeinated samples. Behind the counter, Tine quickly—almost surgically—prepared a Chemex, handing me not just a ceramic mug, but a short glass of water and a long-stemmed wine glass. As I swirled and lingered over my fi rst sips, I listened to Tine's story. From the moldy smell of his Bosnian grandmother's homemade roasting, to learning to roast coffee himself on the balcony of his apartment in snowstorms (because the smell indoors would bother his neighbors), Tine's long journey with coffee led him to his current enter- prise of promoting sustainably sourced coffee in Slovenia. He says he buys directly from farmers in South America, where he travels annually. Café Č okl is also working toward being zero waste. I learn that Tine eschews any milk-related adulteration, as he waves his hand dismissing- ly at the macchiato-sipping patrons outside. No, Tine is a purist. When I leave Café Č okl, my cup of awareness is defi nitely overfl owing. I have a feeling soluble Nescafés will be a thing of the past for me. T O Z D While Café Č okl made its impression on me, Ljubljana is fi lled with other coffee shops deserving of a visit. One worth mentioning is the riv- erside café TOZD, owned by Robert Henigman. TOZD is set apart by its cozy and artistic atmosphere. Like other Ljubljana cafés, it operates Clockwise from le : Tine Čokl brews a Chemex at his namesake shop. Third-wave coff ee culture is still new in the Balkans, but here at Café Čokl, it's a way of life. Ljubljana's Central Market includes an open-air market that stretches across the Vodnikov trg and Pogačarnev trg squares; the Plečnik's Covered Market, which was built by the architect Jože Plečnik between 1940 and 1944, and extends along the curve of the river; and the Odprta kuhna, or Open Kitchen, where Slovenian chefs gather in stands to prepare various dishes from all over the world. Espresso grounds at Café Čokl, a tiny, beloved café in the center of Ljubljana near the Central Market, Ljubljana Puppet Theatre, and the funicular entrance. 48 barista magazine

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