Bulgaria’s thriving coffee culture may date back centuries, but don’t go looking for grand old cafes you will see in other European capitals. All is new, modern and most probably won’t be there for your next visit.
Sitting down for coffee, however has remained the social ritual it has always been.
It is true, changes are taking place.
Espresso replaced the sugary Turkish coffee, once enjoyed in the region, several international coffee chains moved in introducing the “grab and go” coffee culture and, most importantly, as of June 2012 all coffee shops are smoke free.
Note that many coffee shops double up as restaurants during the day or as bars late in the evening and will serve alcohol.
Regular espresso /normalno kafe/
When ordering coffee in Bulgaria /kafe/ expect to get a small cup filled to the top with steaming espresso.
Espresso comes in several varieties.
The classic Italian ristretto shot called “short coffee” /kaso kafe/ will come at least double the size of the one you will get in Italy.
“Long” coffee /dalgo kafe/ comes in a bigger cup. If you are not a seasoned espresso drinker then bear in mind that, contrary to popular belief, the so-called “long coffee” has way more caffeine.
You can also order your coffee with milk /kafe s mliako/, which will usually get you a small cup of cold milk on the side. Combine it with a glass of freshly squeezed juice /fresh/.
Filtered coffee /schwartz/ can only be found in large coffee chains.
Instant coffee, on the other hand, is available everywhere except the chain coffee shops.
The famous Greek frappe (an iced mix of instant coffee and water, or milk, served on ice) is widely available in summer.