When I included myself in this adventure, I could have never imagined how wonderful it was going to be. Like Ulysses’ trip from Kavafis, one after another, Itaka was behind every corner of my journey.
The improvised trips can often lead to discovering the completely inscrutable paths and wonderful destinations. The plane kidnapped me from beautiful Bologna – I swear, I still miss you – and bring me to a monumental city of Prague. I arrived at night, not the right time for coffee affairs. Instead, the next morning promised a true marathon, with the main course of the Prague Coffee Festival. I went to bed early to charge my batteries because I was going to need this electricity flowing.
Waking up early pays off. Sometimes. I’m certainly not an early bird. However, that day was about dozens of adventures and I wasn’t going to miss a single one of them. The goal has been set. I had my breakfast at Coffee Room, the only café I met before the Festival.
Why Coffee Room? To be fair, it was relatively close to where I was staying, and since I saw a charming video of the place, I felt like that must be my starting point. There it is – too early to explore the sea of options, I let myself to be lazy about it. The outside exhibited an important contrast to the inside: quite an old building, with the walls bitten by the tooth of time, separating London-Berlin-inspired charm, its modern interior, from the rest of the world.
These two trendy cities, London and Berlin, have been the first associations born in my mind after I stepped inside. There was something foreigner in the air, something that moves you away from Prague, and closer to the western love to minimalism. It was impeccable, white, neat, brushed only slightly with some feeble greens, hanging from the ceiling, implanting your scope of vision.
Minimal décor, perhaps, but not quite so, when it comes to food. The temptation shall not be undermined. This place is famous for its breakfasts. It didn’t take me long to notice the pastries. Resist John! – yelled my responsible side. But, I guess, my inner child must have screamed more vigorously. I did succumb to temptation eventually, ordering pastry and an espresso. I regret nothing. Except maybe not ordering more and spending there my whole day. Rushing to get to the Festival on time, I hardly had time to talk to Jiri, the owner.
I’m afraid time wasn’t something I had in excess, as the journey was very spontaneous. Leaving, I looked at the coffee shop with nostalgia. The sexy Kees Van der Westen Mirage and the modern design. In that moment, I didn’t yet know, I have just had one of the best espressos I was going to try in the Czech Republic: a burst of strawberries and blueberries, coming straight from a natural Ethiopia to my taste buds.
Well, it´s been nearly 3 years ago. We lived in London before and decided to come back to Prague with the idea of opening a coffee shop. Our goals? Pretty simple – to serve one of the best or ideally the best coffee in Prague and to become a destination for coffee people.
The coffee has changed a lot. People automatically count on the quality and don´t care too much whether they get the Ethiopia or Rwanda. They just come to enjoy the coffee and don´t want to act like coffee geeks any longer which brings more friendliness to this sphere.
Of course people still do care and it´s good that they do but they don´t push that much. Another thing is people like darker roasts back again. I mean like 1-2 years ago you could just serve totally light Kenyas on filter, now people are happy with darker Colombias. The reason is people still need a change. It´s a normal thing. That´s why there is so many new trends coming up. This industry obviously needs that as any others.
WHY DID YOU START TO MAKE COFFEE?
Because I lived in London and worked as a pizza delivery guy and had a feeling that I could do something lot better than this. It also must be a job where I can improve my English a lil bit more. And I loved coffee so looking a barista job was sort of an obvious thing.
HOW WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE AT COFFEE ROOM?
Well it was totally different compared to the stuff I used to do before. I worked as a sports journalist and never had anything to do with customer service at all. But I was enjoying it. That´s why I fell in love with the barista role.
WHAT IS COFFEE ROOM FOR YOU?
Coffee room? It means everything to me. I just love it. Even when I’m off I always come to my shop for a coffee as I love everything about it, especially the vibes and coffee. It reminds me my time in London which is so good, I love our staff and our customers, always having a chat with them when there. I’m so proud of what me and my wife Monika did.
GOOD EXPERIENCE, BAD EXPERIENCE AND AN ANECDOTE
Bad experience: some people just come to cause problems and trying to persuade you that your coffee is shit, acidic or whatever. I used to be trying to change their opinion in a good way despite they were always so rude but I don’t do this anymore. I just don’t care and make them go somewhere else. It´s so simple.
Good experience: there is always something, meeting new interesting people, trying new coffees, can´t remember anything particular at the minute, sorry .
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COFFEE? HOW DO YOU LIKE IT BREWED?
This is obviously changing as I don’t like being stuck to one thing only. At the moment I like washed Kenya on espresso roasted by White Label fellaz, Amsterdam. For filter coffees I have many favourites, still prefer lighter Africans than south Americas, but when the coffee is brewed perfectly I’m always happy to drink it and it doesn’t really matter what coffee exactly I drink.
- Monday-Friday: 8:00-18:30
- Saturday: 9:00-18:00
FOOD: Breakfasts, homemade pastries, sandwiches, cakes, etc.
VEGAN OPTIONS: YES
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
- Coffee Beans
- Main Roaster: White Label.
- Rotating roasters.
ESPRESSO: One espresso option at a time. Mostly single origins. The only exception are blends from Alchemy Coffee, London.
FILTER: At least Four.
- Soy Milk
- Almond Milk
COFFEE MACHINE: Kees Van der Westen Mirage, 2-group head
GRINDERS: Nuova Simonelli Mythos One for Espresso.
FILTER BREWING METHODS:
- Batch Brew.
COLD COFFEE OPTIONS:
- Cold Brew.
- Iced Coffees.
- Espresso Tonic.