Photo: Borna Filic/PIXSELL

“Croatians love coffee, but more than that coffee in Croatia is where everything gets done. It’s where friends meet, where deals are made, it’s how favors are asked, it’s how people are hired, fired, introduced, married, divorced, everything. Everything involves coffee”, said professor Cody Brown, from the Faculty of Political Science of Zagreb, who lived in the USA for a while.


The first thing that even foreign students notice arriving in the center of Zagreb are the endless bars filled with people having two-hour long coffee during the day – every day! But how to order one? Try and say it like this: “Id-em-oh nah carvoo” and don’t worry if you sound silly; it roughly means let’s go grab a coffee. So if you are foreign you can practice saying it with your travel buddies. Social factors also contribute to the fact that coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world today and coffee houses, with its relaxing atmosphere, are always well paired with good conversations.

“You even escape work for a coffee, rather than having coffee as your desk companion”, said one logistics worker who’s been told to never, ever turn down a coffee when asked.


Coffee in Croatia has a social function, but in the USA it is more like – “The bigger the cup, the more important you are”, says Cody Brown. It is no wonder why Starbucks has started selling coffee in cups that contain almost a liter-worth of liquid. Even though it contains more than the average stomach volume, customers are still buying a liter of coffee as their stomachs probably stretch to accommodate them.

The biggest amount of coffee (to go) you could ask for in Croatia is about 10 ounces but more people are drinking it in a café where it is served in a one small cup! The size of a cup does not matter as Croatians can drink macchiato for two or three hours.

From the 15th century, coffeehouses have been a meeting place for intellectuals, artists, musicians and writers to share ideas and better the community

In Starbucks, everyone is alone or doing some kind of work on their laptop with their iPods. They are always in a hurry, so the coffee they grab is just a charging spot before work. A local sitting alone in a café is rarely seen in Zagreb as it defeats the purpose of the Zagreb coffee ritual. Here you can see people connecting tables to gather around and discuss daily life. The phrase “Do you want to have coffee?” in Zagreb literally means “Do you want to go and spend some time with me?”


When you go to Starbucks and get your venti Frappuccino you are not getting coffee. When you fill up half your cup with milk and a fourth of your cup with sugar, you are not drinking coffee. You are drinking caffeinated, sugary milk. Now, I am not trying to say that there is no room for milk and sugar when it comes to drinking coffee, but there comes a point where you have forgone any coffee flavor at all and are just in it for the caffeine or sugar. Because people drink coffee mostly to socialize, as a side effect, nearly no one has any clue what good coffee tastes like.

If you, like myself, are the picky sort of coffee drinker, finding good coffee in Zagreb is possible, but will require some walking around. In Ilica, the main street in Zagreb, you can find the perfect place for top-quality coffee lovers – Eli’s caffe. When you see people standing outside in the street with cups of coffee in their hands- you have reached the place!

Photo: Josip Regovic/PIXSELL

“Our café is visited by people from all over the world telling us that they have read that it is on the list of the top 600 cafés in the world”, said Sara Bilanović Platzer, the waitress in Eli’s caffe. In fact, it was the first “artisan” café and has a decent choice of their own blends.

“Since I have a coffee machine, I only buy coffee beans in here”, said a guest.
Elis is quite a small café but big in taste. You are even able to buy their coffee beans and they are real heaven for true coffee ‘addicts’, and in the case that you can’t make up your mind (as the offer is diverse), Nik, the triple Croatian Barista Champion, and the owner, will advise you on what to choose. The most interesting fact about Eli’s caffe is that smoking indoors is not allowed as it would ruin their fantastic smell inside, but there is a small “smoking patent” in front of the café.


A café is not just about good coffee, it is very important to have a good looking café interior and exterior as it affects our mood and also changes our perception. The cafés interior should be cozy because people like visiting places which give them a fresh and relaxed feel. In contrast with a small number of cafés with quality coffee, the cafés in which the interior and exterior went on another level can be seen in numerous locations in Zagreb. Café Botaničar is one of them.

“Is there a better place to drink coffee than a place that resembles an oasis?” said a guest.
That cute green oasis is situated only a few minutes of walking from the beautiful Botanical Garden and the main railway station in Zagreb. It is a very relaxing place full of plants, art, and good energy. Due to guests always having nothing but good reviews.

Croatia ranks among the world’s largest coffee consumers. It’s fabled coffee culture means Croatia ranks as one of the biggest caffeine fans globally, beating Italy, the UK and even USA into the top 20!

“Suitable for all the freelancers or travelers who are always in search of a comfortable place to work with fast Wi-Fi & kind staff & music that’s not too loud. If you desire to soak up some sun, there are few tables outside”, said a user on TripAdvisor.

There are all kinds of cultural events taking place here: poetry nights, book launches, interesting exhibitions, and even small gigs. And last, but not least important, it is a pet-friendly café. “It is so good in here, even my dog is never bored. People in here are filled with positive energy”, said Rea Grgurač, a guest of the café.

“On a January evening the winter gloom is only illuminated by the bright lights of the city’s innumerable cafes. You pass them in the cold, but inside you see they are warm, inviting, filled with life, men and women, young and old, gathered two to four to a table talking, laughing; you feel that the city is alive, and walking past each bright cafe you long to be a part of it. And this feeling stays with you”, says Cody ‘Brown “tempting to pull you into the nearest cafe. Until finally a friend calls you and says: Idemo na kavu. And like it was the greatest thing in the world, you say Da.”