Drinking of Coffee in BiH: A Ritual that is much more than plain Need for a Drink

coffeeThere are many widely distributed misconceptions in connection with the Turkish coffee. If you order this thick, dark drink with a delightful aroma in Turkey, you will be disappointed. It will not be served in the coffee pot, with and traditional cup and a sugar bowl.

Instead, you will get your coffee in a plain cup, or even worse, in a tea cup. To give this beverage in a mug to a Bosnian coffee consumer is the same as serving a tea in a soup bowl to an Englishman.

You must come to Bosnia and Herzegovina to get a dream coffee. That is the right thing. Order this dream beverage under the name “Bosnian coffee”. To tell the truth, even in this country, where coffee is a national pastime, there are less and less places that serve coffee in traditional way. Bosnian coffee has been replaced with aromatized instant coffee, espresso, or filtered coffee for which locals say is not good because it has no grains.

A good Bosnian coffee requires knowledge and a method of preparation. In order to achieve the right result, whole coffee grains must be bought raw, then baked in a wood furnace. The coffee is grinded prior to the making and only in the amount necessary for that serving. Tradition is still respected in some places. Coffee grains are baked in a shisha – a simple metal cylinder on a long skewer. Unfortunately, this practice is almost completely forgotten which is unfortunate, because that coffee has unique aroma.

Coffee baked in this way should not be grinded in an electrical mill. There is no scientific proof to support this theory, but it has been claimed that these devices grind the coffee too much. Every host that holds to himself and his coffee shop will serve the real Bosnian coffee that has been grinded in a hand mill. The proper grinding of coffee is an artistic form. The mill is being held in one hand, between your legs while you’re sitting or pressed against your hip while you’re standing, and the handle is being turned around with your other hand. This might seem to be quite slavish, but grinding the grains properly will make you wonder what are those grains made from.

Coffee is prepared in a coffee pot (džezva) that has been well heated previously. You will need a pot with just boiled water. You leave a small amount of this boiled water aside and use the rest to pour over the grinded coffee in the coffee pot. Then the coffee pot is placed on the burner again until it boils, when you pour in the rest of the water. It is served in a traditional coffee cup (fildžan).

Traditional way of drinking coffee includes a sugar cube. Not the entire sugar cube, but the part of it that you bite off with your teeth after you dip it into the coffee. Nowadays, this ritual is mostly used in houses and at home. There are several coffee shops in the city that have maintained this art of coffee drinking. Old habits die hard in BiH.

Invitation for a coffee in BiH rarely implies a concrete need for drinking a dose in order to stay awake or survive a working day. In BiH, invitation for a coffee is an invitation for a conversation. It includes time, and allocating time for friends and family is the most appreciated thing of all other things.


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