Hungary’s love of coffee is grounded in history, with many of Budapest’s grand coffeehouses still flourishing, but gourmet java lovers also have a number of new-wave cafes where they gather to sip their favorite bitter brew.
Thanks to a strong Turkish and Austro-Hungarian influence, by the dawn of the 20th century, the coffeehouse was deeply embedded in Hungary’s cultural psyche. Often synonymous with the idea of ‘sanctuary’, coffeehouses were a center of social interaction where writers, poets, artists, and politicians gathered to read, observe the world, exchange ideas and philosophies, or plot rebellious acts. In Budapest, the heyday of coffeehouses—between 1890 and 1940—saw the establishment of many legendary cafes, including the Centrál Café in 1887, New York Café in 1894, and Múzeum Café in 1885. Luckily, many of these venerable establishments still hold strong today, drawing a consistent clientele of tourists and returning local patrons.
But young Budapesters, in unison with many others around the world, are taking to coffee as a lifestyle statement. No longer are city slickers happy with just a strong cup of hot coffee—these days, we all want a captivating, consistently high-quality yet cost-effective cup of coffee served in a stylish, fashion-forward setting. First to enter Budapest was the Western-style ‘on-the-go’ coffee craze that brought with it branded coffee chains such as Starbucks, California Coffee, and Costa Coffee, where caffeine addicts can always score non-fat grande macchiato with a dash of cinnamon or even an organic, Fair-trade triple Italian-style espresso. And while these chains are popular (and ever-expanding), a new wave of independent cafes focusing on the sights, smells, sounds, ambiance, and emotions that come with the coffee experience have been gaining momentum in the Hungarian capital.
Whether you’re on the lookout for a cafe with artistic decor, searching for a rare bean from Columbia, or simply craving some mouth-watering treats to pair with your caffeine fix, you’ll find many unique third wave coffee shops to suit your taste. Here are our picks for the best artisanal coffee shops in Budapest.Comments