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.
Simply named “Black” (a popular moniker for coffee in Hungarian), this hole-in-the-wall coffee spot is perpetually packed with caffeine-starved university students and discerning coffee types. The master baristas behind the bar brew a clean cuppa using the impressive La Marcozzo machine and fair-trade beans from the developing world that are ground on Super Jolly and Volcano machines. If you’re not in a hurry, try one of their decadent cakes and lounge for a while in the small garden patio out back.