Bucharest is becoming a world-class speciality coffee city25 Feb 2019

Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is known among tourists for its grandiose historical buildings, such as the Palace of the Parliament. But at the same time, it is quickly establishing itself as a hub for speciality coffee in Europe. Indeed, London is the leading city in Europe, with more than 250 cafés and roasteries, but take a closer look and see that Bucharest actually has one speciality café per 52,000 inhabitants, which is more than Berlin (1 café per 67,000 inhabitants) or Copenhagen (1 café per 72,000 inhabitants). It is quite interesting to see how quickly the speciality coffee scene grew in the city in the past two years. In fact, speciality coffee is just an example among many others, showing how much the Romanian capital actually is evolving.

Coffee professionalism and the strive for excellence

The number of places offering speciality coffee jumped from 11 to more than 50 in less than two years. But quantity is not the only sign of the growth of the scene, excellence has followed suit. The first generation of local baristas, who were forging the scene between 2012 and 2016, learnt a lot from each other, some of them even spent some years in the UK or in Germany to fine-tune their knowledge and skills in the coffee business. This desire to become excellent at different coffee jobs, from a barista to a roaster, gave very positive aspects to the local scene. Besides competition recognition, such as the one from the World Roaster Championship 2016 won by Alexandru Niculae of Bob Coffee Lab, there are other worldwide well-ranked professionals in the capital. Having this local expertise pushes new speciality coffee entrepreneurs to the top. The places offering speciality coffee beans in town have to aim for a certain level if they want their business to be successful. And the customers? They also become pickier when choosing a place to have a shot of caffeine, thanks to roasters and baristas offering excellent coffees. In the long list of new great cafés that opened in town, I have to admit that 6 particular places come to my mind, the ones that each coffee lover visiting Bucharest should not miss.

Six new cafés which define Bucharest`s coffee identity

Dose Café

Dose Café is a small coffee shop founded by Alex Raduca and Alex Frosin, two former sailors who discovered the speciality coffee during their long journeys around the world. After years of exploring countries and seeing the development of the coffee industry elsewhere, they wondered: “How come Romania is not as advanced as many other countries when it comes to delivering a tasty cup of coffee to a customer?”. Both owners originally from Galati, they decided to open their first café in Bucharest, seeing an opportunity in a city that had been experiencing a growth in the number of great cafés. Alex and Alex partnered with Caffenation roastery from Antwerp, one of the biggest harbours in Europe, as a reminder of their former life between containers and cargoes. Dose is not only a café, they can also be spotted at various events as a coffee catering service. It is a great way to come in touch with the people who have not heard about speciality coffee yet. Besides coffee, one of the greatest things you can find at Dose is their diverse clientele. Students, elderly people, couples, freelancers, expats, they all find their way to Dose. Alex Raduca considers this a victory for their business. Their secret? They enjoy spending time with their customers, answering their questions and thus helping them choose the drink of their preference.

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