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FOREIGNER IN SLOVAKIA

Blog: Bratislava's coffee culture has already got much to offer

Recent news about Starbucks coming to Bratislava has caused an increase in social media discussions in the past couple of days, with split views on whether this will be a positive or negative influence in the city.

(Source: Sme)

It is quite an interesting development, for there are arguments about Starbucks' business practices, work environment, quality of their product, to the impact this will have in small businesses in the city, the current reactions are very much split, some people can't wait to visit one while others are vehemently against this development.  

Most of these arguments unfortunately use sources found online or from past experiences with other companies so I cannot say for sure who is right or wrong about the impact of this international chain coming to Bratislava.

Personally, I must say that comments from some expats such as "finally!" have got me a bit concerned.  Why do we say finally! to Starbucks coming to Slovakia? Is it because we miss a piece of home here in our new host country? This may be so, and as newcomers to a new land, our first attempt is to find something familiar where we can feel connected.  But if we try to say finally! as if the quality of product is better than what you can find locally, then I must urge you readers to give this city a bigger try. For the coffee culture in Bratislava is alive and growing every day, for the past five years that I have lived here I have seen countless coffee shops that have sprung in the city, and how diverse each of them really is; almost every weekend I enjoy going for a walk in the Old Town with no destination in particular and tasting coffee in a different café every time.  

Sure, not all coffee shops will get your stamp of approval, for everyone has different tastes and preferences, but for example, have you ever been to the Coffee Festival organized every year in the city?  For sure one of my "can't miss" events of the many organized here in Bratislava.

In the end, our biggest hopes or fears may never materialize after Starbucks coffees start appearing in the city, as we have seen how other companies have fared well like Subway or failed like Burger King.  However, one suggestion I can give is to try to taste more of the offerings currently available, for you may be pleasantly surprised and who knows, you may even find your next favorite café. I know I have.

By Diego Loyola - InterNations Ambassadors Bratislava

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