That first cup of coffee when you arrive in a new city. The one you crave when you wake up and for a second you are not sure where in the world you are. The one that is the perfect complement to that long, indulgent stretch before you jump out of bed, ready to conquer Sofia, Bulgaria - the capital you had barely heard of until a few months ago that somehow drew you in and here you are.
And the one you need in the young afternoon, after hours of walking, when the sun is too high and the rhythm of the city shifts to a lower gear. The one to be savored at a cool, shaded corner as you contemplate a nap.
That’s the cup of coffee I am talking about. Or four, because when I started counting my favorite cafes in Sofia, Bulgaria, I just couldn't keep the list to my originally intended three. So here you have it - now go chase that perfect cup.
If you can only have ONE cup of coffee in all of Bulgaria, make it the Turkish coffee with cardamon at Lime (40, Graf Ignatiev Street). It's a rare and unique treat that is not widely available around the world so take advantage of it where you can.
Chucky's Coffee and Culture
Chuky's (40, Hristo Belchev St), has an almost religious attitude towards coffee and that attitude results in a creamy, rich espresso with just the perfect amount of acidity. Rumor has it that the owner lived and studied in Greece so his reverence to all things caffeine should come as no surprise. The simple, well appointed space and great selection of books, should you feel inclined to read, are an added bonus.
Photosynthesis (57 Vasil Levski Boulevard) is much more than a cafe. It's an art center that just happens to serve some fantastic coffee (and homemade lemonade as pictured below). The space is cool and hush and makes you prone to philosophical contemplation.
Cafe Ma Baker (163 Rakovski St) ended up being one of my most frequent meeting points in Sofia last summer. Very centrally located, it also happens to be open relatively early on weekends. The breakfast selection and pastries are very hard to resits.
Coffee with a charm
First time visitors to Bulgaria are often surprised by a whimsical custom. I truly have no idea where it originated from but in recent years, almost all cups of coffee in Bulgaria come with a little charm - a scroll that reveals your fortune. Some are even translated in English!