A COMPETITION called Kaviareň mesta (Café of the City) got underway on May 3 for the 6th year in Bratislava. There will also be a concurrent competition in Košice this year for the first time. The finalists consist of 16 cafés in Bratislava and seven in Košice which are seeking the honour of displaying the Bronze Coffee Bean statuette.
The decision on the winning cafes in the two cities will be based on walk-in customers as well as experts from Slovakia’s Coffee Quality Institute (Inštitút kvality kávy).
According to contest rules, each venue must have been open for at least 12 consecutive months and must serve at least three types of coffee. The cafés were nominated by coffee experts, coffee importers and city officials.
“In the beginning, 90 cafés were nominated,” event coordinator Denisa Priadková told The Slovak Spectator. “We knocked on the doors of the 20 cafés that had the largest number of nominations and asked if they would be willing to participate. Of those, 16 were selected to compete for the bronze statuette.”
From May 3 to May 31, coffeehouse denizens are invited to vote on their favourite café and offer their reasons why. The list of participating cafes is at the www.skvelakava.sk website in the 'kaviarne' section.
Priadková told The Slovak Spectator that unfortunately “the information is only in Slovak this year”. Customers are encouraged to taste the coffee and food and also specify whether it was the coffee itself, the service, the pastries or the atmosphere that impressed them the most.
“Experts, bartenders, people from hotel academies, coffee gourmets and others will go secretly and evaluate the quality of the establishments from their point of view,” Priadková explained.
“Sometimes these opinions can go in totally opposite directions,” she added, while noting that one quarter of the competing cafés are owned by foreigners. “Mostly it is Italians, who – contrary to what one would expect – don’t serve their own coffee but rather a good Slovak espresso,” she stated.
An extension of the project was called Deli Week and it dealt with fancy types of coffee as well as tea, chocolate, waffles, cupcakes, and muffins that were all offered to patrons without charge.
Those competitions took place from May 9 to 12 in Bratislava and from May 2 to May 4 in Košice.
“It is funny,” Priadková said, “but some of the best coffee in Bratislava is not found in cafés but in other venues such as a small Italian food shop or a casino or a bookstore. The aim of our event is to educate the public about what makes a good coffee so they can demand that cafés improve their quality.”
More information, including recipes, can be found in the Crema de la Creme publication offered for free at the competing cafés as well as on the www.skvelakava.sk webpage.