In Brno we have been visiting a cafe/bar where espresso does not exist, which is open 22 hours a day and offers 9 different menus. It’s name is 4pokoje [4rooms] and despite the fact it is still in its trial operation, it catches people’s attention and interest. You would hardly find a place that breaks that many preconceptions about what a cafe or a bar can offer!
After a great success of the cocktail establishments Bar, ktery neexistuje [Bar that does not exist] and Super Panda Circus–both shaked the bar scene in the whole country–the team around Honza Vlachynský and Andrej Vališ decided to start a day operation. Seeing them at the bar at 4pokoje, it seems that what they wanted was a good place for coffee and lunch, for themselves and the staff. Why not to share it with others, though?
Of course, coffee has to be on the menu if you open at 7 am. 4pokoje teamed up with the local coffee roasters Rebelbean to create a seasonal blend called Ein Berliner. It is used for their batch brewed coffee, prepared using a Marco JET coffee brewer and a Mahlkoenig EK43 grinder sat on the bar. If you prefer your coffee black and cold, try their cold brew on tap. Hand brewed single origin coffees are on offer, too.
As far as we know this is the only European high volume cafe that relies only on filter coffee. How do they manage? They take advantage of their bartending background and they simply use coffee as one of the ingredients and mix it up. Do you miss your favorite espresso or cappuccino? Don’t worry, there is an alternative for you.
We wanted to know more and that is why we met with Matej Coufal, a bartender at Super Panda Circus. He helped to create the coffee menu for 4pokoje. Together we tasted 6 drinks based on coffee, three non-alcoholic and three alcoholic ones.
1 – Japanese Coffee
150 ml filter coffee
1 tbs matcha
15 ml sugar syrup
“It is supposed to be an energy shot. Something that gets you going when you need to work for hours and hours.
2 – Mongolian Coffee
100 ml cold brew
25 ml bulletproof base (coconut oil, salt, Artemisia herbs and honey)
“It is a twist on a bulletproof coffee. We substitute butter with coconut oil, add some salt, some Czech herbs [Artemisia] and honey. We make it cold because the structure is better for us when it's cold. Salt tends to enhance the flavour of the herbs, coffee and butter and it lowers the sensation of fatness on your tongue.
3 – Pumpkin Spice Olé!
200 ml filter coffee
60 ml pumpkin spice purée (homemade)
Ginger whipped cream (homemade)
Garnish of dried ginger
“This is a reincarnation of Pumpkin Spice Latte [yes, it is a Starbucks reference!]. We created pumkin spice mixture that we then mix with filter coffee and we top it up with ginger whipped cream. It is a drink that warms you up in the winter.”
4 – Kafe Martini
30 ml cold brew
30 ml coffee liqueur (homemade)
30 ml orangecello (homemade)
1 tbs sugar syrup (homemade)
“It is a twist on a classic espresso martini. We created our homemade coffee liqueur and an orange liqueur. Oranges work really well with coffee and you have two different kinds of coffee there, the coffee liqueur and the cold brew.”
5 – Scotch Coffee
30 ml JB Rare Scotch Whisky
15 ml Giffard white chocolate
50 ml filter coffee
Banana foam (homemade)
“The most iconic alcohol coffee beverage is Irish Coffee and this is Scotch Coffee. It has the smokiness from the Scotch Whisky which some people find difficult to taste, but it is well balanced with banana foam. That is what makes this drink so good.”
6 – Kafe Negroni
30 ml sweet vermouth infused with cardamom and cacao nibs
30 ml campari
40 ml cold brew
“This is a very simple twist on a classic Negroni. We removed the gin though and substituted it with cold brewed coffee, and we infused Campari and sweet vermouth with cardamom and cacao nibs. The aftertaste is a combination of coffee and cacao, bitter – sweet – dry, it is my kind of drink.”