36 Hours in Prague
Prague, the most famous city of the Czech Republic is a city that I have been wanting to visit for at least ten years. For some reason I never found the time, the money or enough of an excuse to visit this town until now, because of its wonderful and vibrant coffee scene.
In terms of the history of Prague, I have to please ignorance, I like many, know that it has a deep and enriched history, and since joining the EU in 2004 had seen a boom in both its economy and tourist industry, where crowds of people flock to view the beautiful scenic city from atop the mountain or from the elaborate Charles Bridge. ut where I wanted to view Prague, in addition to this was from the cup of its fantastic coffee scene. Here is what I found, I hope they help you in your search. Please let me know what I missed and what to see next time.
We awoke on Saturday morning after a late night travel and journey to the Prague city center in need of some great coffee and more importantly, breakfast. Lucky for us, The Coffee Room was just a short ten minute trek (uphill) from our apartment so we immediately set out. Settled in the middle of Prague's Vinohradská district, which seemed like a relaxed residential district was the small and cozy Coffee Room. This buzzing coffee shop had a busy atmosphere as people lined up and squeezed in for the fantastic servings of home made food and coffee from multiple roasters both local and abroad. On this day they were serving White Label from Amsterdam but had many others on offer as hand and batch brew. I was treated to a balanced and sweet Colombian filter to accompany my toasted banana bread, topped with peanut butter, walnuts and kiwi fruit. But don't miss out on the avocado toast. This tasty piece of sourdough is topped with a mountain of avocado mashed with a little chili flake and served with lemon. Kudos to the staff who were able to maintain a friendly and attentive service despite the rush hour, supported by a great choice in music. As the Guess Who's "American Woman" played we stepped out into the cobbled streets in search of our next stop and our next coffee.
Müj Šalek Kávy:
After a busy few hours checking out the streets and the beautiful cobbled town center we began to crave our next cup of coffee and just had to make a trip to Karlin, home of local residents and artists. After a failed attempt to visit Cafe Karlin, we rolled on to visit Müj Šalek Kávy which apparently means my cup of coffee. I knew of Doubleshot coffee roasters and knew I wanted to visit their shops in Prague but I had no idea it was going to be such a well oiled ship. This beautiful shop was settled on a busy sun soaked corner in Karlin and I can see why it is such a busy epicenter for Prague's busy brunch crowd. Upon entry we were greeted by a friendly gentleman who recommended we can sit anywhere as it was now quiet. We were given a clear and well written menu card and found a lovely spot with a good view of the whole shop. I craved a cold drink but the second I saw Finca Panama Geisha, Natural, I could not resist. 100kr but boy was it worth it. Keep that milk away from this one. It was sweet, balanced and intensely fruity. The room had a relaxed atmosphere and despite being such a busy shop I found the staff incredibly friendly. One of the baristas even sat down and gave us food recommendations in Karlin (I will post these in part two). I found myself craving an iced latte after all and took it to go, sad in the fact I cannot visit this shop everyday, far away from my home in Berlin.
One week before my visit to Prague, I met a friendly chap from Double B at the weekly cupping at Bonanza Coffee Heroes. He invited me to visit him at his new shop and work place in Prague part of Double B's entry into the Czech coffee scene. Also set in a small side street near the old town, we found Dominik not in his new shop but in the first Double B, a large and open shop with plenty of seating and an extensive menu. As he recommended the week before I had to try their new Kenyan, chosen as a direct trade by their head roaster. It was one of the sweetest and best developed fresh crop Kenyans I had all summer so I had to buy a bag for home. This will make an amazing summery cold brew I am sure, but was so incredibly sweet warm with a crisp clean acidity and an after taste that reminded me of blackberry jam. I had a lovely chat with both Dominik and the head barista about Double B's projects and expansion as well as they drinks menu. Where Double B stood out from perhaps other speciality coffee shops is that they embrace the people's desire for sweet coffee drinks, and in doing so produce their own syrups made from fresh local ingredients. The raspberry latte comes recommended although I was already too caffeinated at this point to attempt to try.
Beyond Coffee, Day One:
Prague has much to offer besides just great coffee, and if you want a quiet stop while in Karlin I would recommend a quiet visit to the church settled in the middle of the park. We took a few moments to view the local architecture, and as a fan of small churches (though not religious) this was a polite break from the intense heat and busy streets of the town center.
When eating in this area, I would highly recommend the Not Only Bistro which was recommended to me by the baristas at Müj Šalek Kávy. What I loved here was not just the delishous local food, produced well, and its affordable prices, but also its healthy choices on the menu. Nothing was greasy or over seasoned. And if you really need to chill out in this summer weather I would recommend trying the cold cucumber and mint soup.
But when you are in the old town, do not forget to try the local chimney cakes. Here I must be a little critical, we found an old cart in a busy square with a long line, this must mean it's good? Well, maybe or maybe not. We waited a good twenty minutes to order our cakes, were met with a cold service and received warm yet hard doughy biscuits. I don't know much about this local delicacy to investigate whether or not we got ripped off. It it's very sweet and worth trying but not essential to your visit.
Coming in part two:
Some more coffee recommendations coupled with some tourist spots worth seeing and maybe that restaurant list. Until then, ciao.