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6 September 2019

Seven Speciality Coffee Shops To Try in Ljubljana

I've also published a guide to spending a long weekend in Ljubljana; check it out!


Ljubljana, the vibrant and verdant capital of Slovenia, had long been on my to-visit list and I spent a few days there last weekend. Speciality coffee wasn't my main motivation for visiting — and I'll have a post up next week about all the other things I got up to — but I found a number of great speciality coffee shops and roasters during my short trip. Ljubljana's city centre is compact, which means you can visit several of these even if you only have limited time in the city. Here's what I found (as usual, my very favourites have purple icons in the map):



Located at the lower station for the funicular that runs up to Ljubljana Castle, I first arrived at Cafe Čokl at lunchtime on a sunny Saturday and all of the tables were full. I went back on my final day and secured a table on the sunny patio. The cafe serves coffee from their Buna cooperative with a variety of brew methods, from espresso to Chemex and cold brew. I had a washed Nicaraguan coffee brewed through the Aeropress, which was fruity and satisfying. NB: Cafe Čokl is cash only.


Cafe Čokl is located at Krekov trg 8. Website. Twitter. Instagram.


Črno Zrno


This coffee roaster, whose name translates as 'black bean', specialises in speciality coffee from Colombia. Their coffee bar, a slim shop with beautiful blue tiling on the counter, is located on a broad street between the river and the foot of castle hill. On the day I visited they were serving beans from the Meta region of Colombia, a relatively new coffee origin. Brewed through the V60, the notes of lemon, plum and blackberry came through nicely. Other brew methods are also available, and they also sell their house cold brew in bottles. Inside, there are just a few stools at the side, but there are also tables outside on the pavement of the pedestrianised street.


Črno Zrno is located at  Gornji trg 17. Website. Twitter. Instagram.


Kavarna Natura


I had added Kavarna Natura to my Google Map but as it was a little further out of the city centre (though still only 30 minutes on foot), I wasn't sure if I'd have time to visit. Following the recommendation of Klemen at Mariposa Coffee Roasters (see below), I decided to stop by. The coffee shop is located in a quiet, residential area — it's unlikely you would come across it unless you were seeking it out. They roast coffee from many different origins and sell bags of their beans. There was just one coffee, from Honduras, in the hopper during my visit and I ordered a macchiato. It actually came deconstructed, with a tiny jug of steamed milk on the side, but lacking confidence in my milk pouring, I decided to drink the coffee as an espresso instead, and really enjoyed it. The cafe itself is, as the name would suggest, a very relaxed, rustic place to visit, and the macchiato was only €1.30.


Kavarna Natura is located at Središka ulica 10. Website


Mariposa Coffee Roasters


In a small retail complex in the north-east end of the city centre is the lovely Mariposa Coffee Roasters. Again, you probably wouldn't come across it unless you were looking for it, but it is well worth seeking out. They roast their own coffee — for sale in butterfly-themed bags — and there were three single-origin coffees available during my visit. I had a Gesha from Nariño, Colombia, which was brewed excellently by Klemen through the V60. This was a really jazzy coffee with notes of orange, pineapple and jasmine. The staff were also super-friendly and welcoming, taking time to explain the different origins and brew methods to customers who had not yet fallen down the speciality coffee rabbit hole. Klemen also gave me some great recommendations for other coffee shops in Ljubljana, and Slovenia more generally.


Mariposa Coffee Roasters is located at Kotnikova ulica 5. Website. Instagram.


Stow Coffee Roasters


As soon as I saw the name Stow, I wondered if there was some connection to Stow-on-the-Wold. In fact, it's named for the chair factory near their roastery (stow is how the Slovenian word for chair (stol) is pronounced), hence the factory motif on the bags of beans. Their Ljubljana coffee shop is located inside the Ljubljana City Museum, with the seating area located in an airy, covered courtyard. I was overwhelmed at first by the sheer number of different coffee varieties on offer, but the barista helped me narrow down my choice by highlighting the three limited-edition Panama Geshas they had. I picked the Hacienda La Esmeralda, which was delicious brewed through the V60, the jasmine and tropical fruit notes coming through very strongly.


At €6, it was the most expensive coffee of my trip, but also the one I enjoyed the most. I almost bought some of one of the other Geshas to take home, but at €26 for 100g, it was on the pricey side, and I didn't trust my home-brewing skills. Instead, I bought a 250g bag of Ethiopian Nano Challa (€12), which I've been enjoying at home this week. The cafe is closed on Mondays, but if you're in Ljubljana on any other day of the week, you should make a beeline for Stow.

Stow Coffee Roasters is located at Gosposka ulica 17. Website. Instagram.


Tozd


Some of Ljubljana's most loved bars and eateries are located along the river and Tozd is no exception. A coffee shop and cafe by day (the avocado toast is supposed to be great), it transitions to a breezy bar by night. There are plenty of tables on the street, overlooking the river (and large umbrellas to provide shelter from the sun and/or rain), as well as more seating in the quirkily decorated cafe. My macchiato was very good and I paired it with a huge but tasty chocolate brownie. If the sun is over the yardarm and you haven't yet tried the Slovenian Broken Bones gin, this is a good place to do so.


Tozd is located at Gallusovo nabrežje 27. Website. Instagram.


Finally, I didn't get the chance to visit Kavarna Moderna, the café-bar of the Museum of Modern Art, as like the museum, it's closed on Mondays, but it came highly recommended, including by Klemen at Mariposa. It's now on my list for next time!


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