Tag Archives: Poland

Kaffetur 12 / Coffee Tour #12: Vespa, Warsaw

Another stop in Warsaw, this time at a shop called Vespa.

Vespa’s decor definitely gives off a 1960’s vibe. The palette has a heavy emphasis on orange, with fun lighting hanging from very high ceilings.

 

The service area was well organized and quite typical of the going cafe trends. Chalkboard menu, a selection of baked good, and the other usual paraphernalia.

 

The service itself was not spectacular. But the barista’s English was limited and I only know a handful of words in Polish, so that is probably the reason why. I was disappointed when I tried to order an advertised drink, and was told they didn’t serve it anymore. But the coffee we did order was a pour-over, and it was a good cup of coffee. Definitely better than a typical coffee chain cup of coffee.

The location was a bit odd – not really close to any other places we were visiting, but also not terribly far from an underground station.

 

For more info on Vespa, visit https://m.facebook.com/vespacaffe?refsrc=https%3A%2F%2Fpl-pl.facebook.com%2Fvespacaffe

Kaffetur 10 / Coffee Tour #10: Karma, Krakow

When we were visiting Poland earlier this year, we took a day trip to Krakow. A long but very good day, and one that of course included a stop in at a coffee shop we had researched.

When we arrived at Karma in Krakow,  it was rainy out. We were 4 adults and 4 kids, who had been walking quite a bit all day. All ready for a little break.

I really liked their packaging. Clean and simple.

Zack began chatting up the barista. He mentioned how we had done our homework to find the best of the best in their city, and that was how we had ended up at Karma. The barista seemed quite pleased with that information, and began to share with us about their coffee.

Their food looked delicious, but we had just eaten. So we went for a Chemex. Karma roasts their own beans, and we chose their selection from Ethiopia.

It was not as strong as what we make at home, but that would be my only complaint. It had a pleasant flavor, and I could tell it was quality coffee.

The boys each ordered a hot chocolate. Definitely visually appealing, but it was not the sweet treat they are used to. But a little sugar added did the trick!

The cafe itself is simple, cozy and inviting. There is even a corner filled with toys to occupy the kids! Karma is definitely a nice spot to check out if you ever visit Krakow.

www.karmaroasters.com

Kaffetur 9 / Coffee Tour # 9: Relaks, Warsaw

Relax. A word, at least in my humble opinion, synonymous with a good cup of coffee.

 

And maybe a pastry.
Or an incredible sandwich.
Or all of the above.

When we visited colleagues in Poland a few months ago, I did my usual coffee research and read up on several locations. But the one that I found the most info on was Relaks. So of course we had to scope it out.

So as I walked in, I was initially puzzled. Was this the place for which I had read so many enthusiastic reviews? I really wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. The decor was eclectic. At first glance it seemed everything was mismatched. And while that isn’t a new concept for coffee bars, something just felt odd to me.* At first.

That was my initial reaction. But once we had placed our order and settled at a table, my opinion began to change.

It was quickly obvious that this is a place with many regulars. Some were settled in with a friend, and others with a MacBook or some reading material. There were frequent greetings from one patron to the next. And everyone appeared quite comfortable in this hodge-podge of vinyl and upholstered chairs and worn tables. The hodge-podge that was actually beginning to grow on me.

The baristas at Relaks know their stuff. Our experience in Poland was that it was a bit harder to communicate in English than in many European countries we’ve visited. However, we had no communications issues here. Great English, and great service with good equipment and very good coffee – and plenty of help if you aren’t sure what you might want to order!

It seems like coffee selections can vary depending on when you visit (Relaks does not roast their own beans). But what they serve up is top notch. Selection is apparently always different, but they’ve been known to offer roasts from well-respected beaneries like Solde Kaffebar (Sweden), The Barn (Berlin), Koppi (Sweden), Coffee Zone (Poland), and Coffee Company (Amsterdam).

We ordered a Finca Tamana from The Barn, as well as El Porvenir (also from The Barn, and both Columbian). They were prepared using a V60. Each was quite good, but we both preferred the Finca.

And the tapenade baguette on its own was worth the walk from the underground!

Our table reminded me a bit of the backgrounds out of a
Batman comic. Pow! Sploosh! Bang!

The boys were extremely pleased with their hot chocolate. And their table: a nice little platform table at the window – a perfect perch for two antsy pants fellas to do a bit of chatting and people watching.

They were not as enthusiastic about the almond danish they ordered – but Zack and I thought it was incredible!

Good equipment. Quality coffee. Lots of interesting people. A 1960’s vibe. All in all, a pretty cool spot. A bit off the beaten path, but definitely worth checking out if you find yourself in Warsaw!

*I did find out later that most of the furniture at Relaks is purchased used, restored, and available for re-sale. And apparently their poster collection is a rotating exhibition that is also available for purchase. Pretty cool. 

And FYI – even if you aren’t all that into coffee, Relaks offers a wide variety of baked goods and sandwiches, and a number of unusual/novelty sodas as well.

Relaks Kawiarnia
Puławska 48,
00-999 Warszawa
Poland

Memorable Eats: Hot Chocolate like you wouldn’t believe!

Sometimes as you travel, or maybe when you’re just taking a stroll around the corner, you come across interesting an usual food, or candies, or drinks. Occasionally they are off-the wall terrible, and then at other times they are great.In this first entry of a new blog series, Memorable Eats, I am sharing about something unusual that could probably fall into the categories of food. AND candies. AND drinks. Let me introduce you to drinkable chocolate.

If you are every in Poland, put this place on your must-see list: E. Wedel Chocolate Lounge

It is a restaurant. A confectionery.  A cafe. And so much more.

When we were visiting friends and colleagues in Warsaw, one of them mentioned stopping by a Wedel Cafe for hot chocolate. Sounded like a great idea to us!

And we are so glad we went. Merely calling the drink that Wedel serves a hot chocolate is doing it a real disservice. They call it drinking chocolate. And that is much more accurate.

I’ve had good hot chocolate in my life. Maybe even great every now and then. But what we had in Warsaw went way beyond that.

Wedel knows chocolate, and they excel when it comes to a drinkable chocolate. Drinking chocolate is much thicker than hot chocolate. It literally looks and tastes like someone took fine chocolate and melted it into a cup. Yeah, amazing.

There were so many varieties on the menu, so Zack and I decided to share the tasting trio. An excellent choice.

Three small cups of drinking chocolate: dessert, milk, and white chocolate. Each was delicious, but I think the dessert chocolate was our favorite!

We also shared the dessert tasting trio.

Another excellent choice, especially when there were so many delicious options. It would have been almost impossible to only choose one!

The boys enjoyed their drinking chocolate as well, complete with whipped cream and chocolate candies.

There are Wedel Chocolate bars throughout Poland – so if you are ever there, you definitely need to stop in!

Kaffetur 1 / Coffee Tour #1: Ministerstwo Kawy / Warsaw

While every morning deserves a little coffee to get things started, I think Mondays typically require even more!

So what better day than Monday to share some of the coffee
shops we’ve visited in recent years…

On our first edition of Kaffetur, I’m highlighting Ministerstwo Kawy (the ministry of coffee) in Warsaw, Poland. (Website here)

When we visited Poland we discovered a number of noteworthy coffee shops. This particular cafe offered excellent hand brews, and delicious baked goods as well.

William has promised to build one of these for us!

The decor was simple and modern, with a bit of a Scandinavian feel to it.

Both of the ladies working behind the counter at Ministerstwo seemed to be quite knowledgeable about coffee – and spoke excellent English as well.

Did I mention that they sell amazing sweets? Zack and I enjoyed sharing a slice of this unusual yet delicious cake.

We ordered a Chemex with a very freshly-roasted African coffee.

The coffee was delicious – some of the best we had on this particular trip.

The location is close to a large roundabout, and a short walk to a Metro station. We highly recommend Ministerstwo in Warsaw!