Lviv is a city obsessed with coffee. There are nearly 600 coffee houses within the city limits. Lviv natives are happy to remind you that the originator of the Viennese coffee house, Yuriy Frants Kulchytsky, was originally from Lviv. This year from September 28th to September 30th, Lviv will celebrate its fifth annual coffee festival.
The coffee there, however, is something different from what you will get at your local Starbucks. Drip coffee is rare in Lviv, espresso only somewhat more common. The coffee you are served in Lviv is what is most commonly known outside the Ukraine as Turkish style. Want to try making a cup of the type of coffee your Russian bride in Lviv might enjoy?
First, you’ll need the right coffee pot. Lviv-style coffee is made in a pot called a cezve or ibrik. It has a long handle and an inward sloping lip. Cezves are often highly decorative, with copper or enameled designs on the outside.
When it comes to the size of the pot, the smaller, the better. The best Lviv coffee is brewed one or two tiny cups at a time – just the right amount for you and that special Russian lady to enjoy a cup together. The coffee is served in the same tiny cups that you use for espresso. These small treats are enough – Lviv coffee is strong!
Lviv coffee is also sweet. Unless you specifically ask for unsweetened coffee, you will be served coffee with sugar. Even if you usually drink your brew black and unsweetened, try it out local style. You may be surprised to learn that you prefer your coffee the way Lviv residents drink it.
The grounds for Lviv-style coffee are extremely fine, almost a powder. You can grind these at home, or purchase them from a shop that sells Turkish or Russian coffee. If you grind your coffee at home, add spices like cinnamon and cardamom for a special touch.
To make a two cup batch of coffee, add two teaspoons of grounds and one teaspoon of sugar to cold water. After that, it’s a matter of repeatedly putting the coffee on heat to get a good froth on top. Simple put it on the burner long enough for the coffee to bubble up (this can happen quickly!) and then remove it. After about four trips on the burner, your coffee is ready.
Pour it into two demitasse cups. Let your coffee sit for a moment before drinking so that the grounds can settle.
In most cafes in Lviv, coffee is served with sweet pastries. If weather permits, sit outside while you enjoy your Lviv treat. The only thing better is actually being in Lviv, savoring your drink with a special Ukrainian bride.