Novi Sad is different than other Serbian cities thanks to its unique multicultural and religious diversity. In its compact city centre, you can find five different Christian churches plus a Jewish synagogue. There are 4 official languages spoke: Serbian, Hungarian, Slovakian and Russian. The mix on the edge of Balkans brings out the best of all the cultures, it creates a perfect environment to try out new ventures and focus on quality and honest service.
That’s what drives the owners of Kafa and Kafa, Vida, and LOFT. Those places have just started—less than a year ago—the journey to speciality coffee, but you can definitely feel the spirit of the 3rd wave coffee movement in all of them already.
Kafa & Kafa
Kafa & Kafa is a bold initiative of Illia who opened it out of pure passion and devotion to give something valuable to the local community. The cafe is located in the middle of a quiet neighbourhood, far from the established streets and the city centre. It’s a place for locals and neighbours of all ages to meet and enjoy a quality cup of coffee. Especially that the cafe is open from 7:00 am till 11:00 pm.
The interior of Kafa & Kafa was fully designed and hand-made by Illia including the comfortable furniture and design elements such as the lamps with jars filled with real coffee. The beverage portfolio includes only espresso-based drinks based on beans from various single origins and blends. The quality of the coffee is assured by KILO roasters from Belgrade.
Illia plans on introducing also alternative ways of brewing, but he wants to do it in a sensible way by firstly educating his guests one brew method at a time. He already introduced people to espresso while conducting workshops in the garden outside of the cafe and plans to approach alternative methods in a similar manner. The cafe offers discounts to parents with children and pregnant women as well as a free coffee offered to the guests on their birthday. All to make sure that Kafa & Kafa is a welcoming and hospitable place.
Vida—the feel-good place—is really a venue that invites you to enjoy your time in a great interior filled with plants, floral elements and chic yet comfortable furniture. For Jelena and Marko it was supposed to be an experiment to see if a place with genuine, healthy food and speciality coffee can thrive away from the city centre. And I’m happy to report that after 9 months the experiment proved to be a successful one.
The team of baristas was trained by Java Coffee who is also the coffee supplier of Vida. You can try the house arabica blend and 4 single origin options.
The dedicated team makes sure that the quality of the espresso-based beverages is maintained at a high level and thinks about introducing alternative brews as well as conducting presentations to educate the guests. The place offers also hand-made pastries and snacks as well as a full lunch menu. They will for sure go well with your coffee and make you spend hours in the comfy interior of Vida so you can truly Viva la Vida!
LOFT is an all-in-one-venue: a restaurant, a pub and a cafe. But don’t be fooled, the focus on quality coffee is still at the roots of the place. In December 2016, it started a crusade against serving americano, espresso with cold milk and quick non-artisan coffee from capsules, which is still a trend. Since then, the crew is educating each customer and spreading the awareness and spirit of the 3rd Wave Movement.
I had an opportunity to enjoy a long chat with the manager Dragana and the head barista Stefan. I was impressed to get to know that they not only check and profile the coffee beans that they get from Java Coffee on the regular basis but they also do blind milk tasting to make sure that it’s still the best one for their beverages. The coffee portfolio includes various espresso-based options as well as alternatively brewed ones: cold brew, V60, Chemex and AeroPress. It might seem like the standard for speciality places, but in Serbia, these brewing methods are still to be fully discovered.
The main LOFT cafe is located in the direct city centre of Novi Sad, right next to the main square. The interior is impressive with bare brick walls, wooden furniture and metal design elements. The brew and alcohol bar is decorated with beautiful tiles and each piece of equipment has its own place.
The attention to detail is really incredible and I loved the wooden receipt holders that were designed according to Dragana’s instructions. LOFT crew even produces their own magazine – LOFT Times so you can get the cafe news right away. Visit one of the two locations of LOFT at any point of the day and always enjoy a great cup of coffee!
Don’t wait till 2021 when Novi Sad becomes the European Capital of Culture and visit it soon to experience the featured places. I truly believe that the more tourists will visit them, the faster they will become fully-blooded speciality cafes and hubs for coffee education. I would like to thank Marina – my dear friend and an amazing host. Thanks to her I fell in love with Novi Sad!
photos: Kafa & Kafa – Milenko Djilas, Visnja Milic, Darko Milosavljevic LOFT – photos provided by LOFT Vida – photos provided by Vida