Illustrations: Lera Lytvyn

Notonlyespresso:Ukrainiancoffeeculture

Commencing a text about coffee culture with a cup of coffee? Sounds like a tautology, but not when we speak about the Ukrainian coffee culture. In fact, everything begins with coffee for many of us: minor and major building works, project discussions, first date (and not only), every working day and every weekend breakfast. Coffee is even what the journeys in Ukraine begin from. So probably a cup of coffee could become their high note!

Illustration: Lera Lytvyn

From now on, this coffee is not just a drink made in a moka pot by your neighbour. It is a cappuccino with perfect milk and coffee synergy, well-balanced espresso or masterfully prepared hand-brewed coffee with the citrus hints in a third-wave cafe. Even a V60 pour-over device is becoming widespread among our kitchens. Moreover, we are trying to forget about adding sugar because it may spoil the flavour of a good coffee.

During the last 5 years, we have become one of the leading countries on the world coffee map! Not every European country can boast of such quality of its own-roasted beans and the quantity of third-wave coffee shops. This definition is used for the establishment in which a high-quality coffee (mostly arabica) is prepared. Ukrainian baristas regularly win prizes in international competitions in latte art, alternative, coffee and alcohol, cezve, etc. Here is a fact. In terms of popularity, coffee is already catching up with such a high-ranking gastronomic visit card as borscht

Illustration: Lera Lytvyn

A community of enthusiasts and pros has been formed around coffee. Where there is a professional community, the best ones are remarked. 5 years ago, the first collection of the 100 best coffee shops in Ukraine’s “City Coffee Guide” was published. Last year, the local Oscars took place among the country’s cafes: this is how the Zerno Award was called in jest. Its winners are selected by a high jury — 75 experts and coffee fans. 

Many people, whose philosophy is coffee, have joined both the Zerno Award and the guide. Here are some outstanding institutions featured by the experts:

Dyletant, Mezhyhirska St., 57/17, Kyiv

A bright place in a minimalist style with delicious breakfasts. This is a beautiful collaboration of architectural and design thoughts. There you can find panoramic windows, vintage furniture, porcelain figures of dogs. 

Fabryka Kavy, Pivdennyi Boulevard, 35, Ivano-Frankivsk

A place for those who love coffee experiments. Here you can try various alternative brewing methods and coffee drinks according to the author’s recipes. Must have — Chemex with berries. It’s hard to miss the coffee shop: there is a logo on the asphalt at the entrance.

Gusto Coffee, Kobylianska Str., 5, Chernivtsi

An ideal place for delicious and hearty breakfasts. The most adorable dishes — shakshuka, sandwiches with pastrami and hummus with avocado. The establishment is located on the main pedestrian street with beautiful architecture, which can be enjoyed while sipping coffee with a city view on the second floor of Gusto Coffee.

Idealist Coffee, Yaroslaviv Val St., 15, Kyiv

A chain of coffee shops with their own roasted coffee. Idealist Coffee’s idealism is defined in their slogan: “We are not perfect, but our coffee is.” Coffee is served with main dishes, all-day breakfasts, melts and soups. There are also sandwiches and snacks in the takeaway format.

Krasivo Est (or Eat Nice in English), Myronosytska St., 54, Kharkiv

You can understand its concept from its name. Everything here is beautiful and practical at the same time — the institution will be appreciated by healthy food fans. The menu shows the entire composition of all dishes, calories and all microelements. 

Nose Coffee, Gogol St., 26, Dnipro

A coffee shop for those who appreciate history, love literature and can’t live a day without delicious coffee. What makes it unique is the bronze nose on the facade and other details that refer to Mykola Gogol’s works.

Octo, cafe and educational centre, Mechnikova St., 5, Kyiv

The symbol of the centre is an octopus that speaks about multitasking. Previously, the room belonged to the hospital, so it is a very unusual and inspiring place in terms of architecture. Of course, high-quality coffee drinks are prepared here, and there is a lovely terrace for those who love fresh air.

ONE LOVE espresso bar, Velyka Vasylkivska St., 100, Kyiv

Creativity is the essence of the ONE LOVE philosophy. For example, on the summer terrace in the café on Velyka Vasylkivska, you can enjoy not only a delicious drink during the warm season but also an excellent view of the St. Nicholas Church.

Riverside Roasting Co., Fentsika St., 13, Uzhhorod

Pink canoe and urban designs, tasty alternatives and a roaster in the heart of the cafe are the Riverside Roasting Co. features. Here you can not only relax and unwind but also eat hearty signature burgers.

Silence, Gretska St., 1a, Odesa

This is a place about people who do everything for the development of coffee culture in their city. The team experiments with many methods and solutions and derives the perfect formula for a delicious and non-trivial cup. Coffee is their life.

Svit Kavy, Katedralna St., 6, Lviv

It is difficult to call it an “old-fashioned one”, but the cafe has welcomed guests since 2000. The coffee cult is combined with the Lviv charm in this place, and it always smells of fresh pastries. 

TAKAVA Coffee-Buffet, Velyka Vasylkivska St., 1-3, Kyiv

Coffee, wine, delicious desserts, state-of-the-art and at the same light design — these mentioned features are reflected in four TAKAVA establishments. Furthermore, the concept is enhanced by vinyl parties and stand-up evenings. And here you can have delectable desserts!

Illustration: Lera Lytvyn

We have something to surprise even the most experienced coffee aficionado from anywhere in the world. Now you know a lot about the Ukrainian coffee culture. So, welcome to Ukraine for a cup of delicious cappuccino!

The coffee institutions’ list does not constitute a ranking 
and is based on the “City Coffee Guide” expert selection.


Text by: Big Bangers team
Translation by: Maksym Buyak

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