Voices slowly pulled me out of a comforting sleep. I hadn’t felt such peace in ages. My body felt light. My hair was a mess of tangles and my face was still wrinkled from sleep. I walked out in a sunlit backyard to the friendly “hellos” of a bellied, 40-something Bosnian man, a dark-skinned Argentinian traveller and a dreadlocked slightly-redheaded Serbian man. Cigarette smoke was floating in the morning sunrays. As we started the usual conversation of where have you been, where are you off to, we got offered coffee. Expecting some instant concoction like any other hostel, we were surprised at the thick black liquid we were handed.

Something we quickly understood: coffee here, is a ritual. It is drunk slowly and savored. It is served with a bit of Turkish delight and consumed sitting and chatting. There is none of this "coffee to go" business. During our walks in Sarajevo, we noticed the shopkeepers sitting opposite their business with a neighbor or a friend, sipping away at tiny tiny cups of coffee. Coffee in Sarajevo is a social behavior. It is more than politeness, it is a welcome, an acceptance.

During our walks in Sarajevo, we noticed the shopkeepers sitting opposite their business with a neighbor or a friend, sipping away at tiny tiny cups of coffee.

The coffee is done in the Turkish style and Turkish coffee needs to be cared for. To prepare it, water is boiled in the “cezve” - a long-necked coffee pot with a long handle. When the water starts to boil, the pot is taken off the fire swiftly and the coffee put in. It is left to float on the water, not mixed in, as the pot is put back onto the heat. At the first sign of bubbles, the cezve is taken off the heat then stirred once and left for some seconds, then put back, bubbles, taken off. The coffee will have created a nice foam at the top and the grind will sink and settle as you let it cool before serving.

Of course, the paragraph above is meant to show me in good light, as if I knew what I was doing while doing it, but Tim was the actual coffee maker. His description was more matter-of-fact:

“ You boil water, take off the heat and add coffee, put it back on the heat, take it off, put it back, take it off, drink it.”

And so we sat back, a group of strangers, enjoying fuming coffee in a city yet to be discovered.

             

The Writer

I write stuff for fun, if it was for a living I would be homeless.

Find out more about me, Stefanie, here.

Quotes

I like the French language, but not the one from Quebec, it's like French but dirty.
'Hey girls, where are you from?'
'Quebec.' Guy on bus