One shot of espresso, please…

Nothing will warm and cheer up on cold winter days like a glass of strong hot coffee.

Drinking coffee has long become a tradition in noisy metropolitan areas, where the rhythm of life tells you when to take a sip of espresso or flat white. In small European cities, coffee has become a necessary addition to a time relax. In the southern cities of Croatia, for example, the phrase “idemo na kavu”, meaning, “let’s go and have a cup of coffee”, sounds every two hours, when, regardless of circumstances and busyness, you need to take a break, go to a nearby coffee shop and order a cup coffee. It does not matter how much coffee you have in your glass – you need to drink it slowly, enjoying every sip. And of course, the main thing is chat with friends and rest.

This year, small businesses, especially in the HoReCa segment, suffered an irreparable blow – the pandemic deprived people of the opportunity to visit their favorite cafes, and the cafes and restaurants were forced to close.

Brian, owner of Bar Klak in Mechelen, says, ‘We have to repurpose our activities and somehow adapt to the conditions that the lockdown has set for us. My place has always been popular with young people. Located in the very heart of Mechelen, the bar was open until late in the evening, and its visitors could always have a drink, chill out in a company… Today, I cannot provide even a third of the services that were available to visitors before. However, we have kept one of the few privileges for visitors. This is coffe-to-go. Now we prepare coffee of a wide variety and for every taste. And chocolate drinks will be a pleasant addition for those who love sweets.’

Kaffe-Ine in Mechelen has always been a favorite destination for students. The unusual vintage and at the same time very cozy interior design of the cafe was one of the most popular places before the pandemic. Its special atmosphere inspired the creativity of those young visitors who came with their laptops. There were no time limits for visitors – you could order one glass of flat white and sit at the computer all day. Today the situation has changed, but strong shots from Kaffe-Ine are still sold to take away. The regular visitors do not forget to come to their favorite cafe – after all, coffee there impresses with its strength and original taste.

Restaurants have suffered from the coronavirus crisis much more than coffee shops. Some of them continue to sell food to go. However, this deprives restaurants of its main function – the atmosphere of a pleasant pastime. Many public places were forced to suspend their activities. However, in order to survive and somehow stay afloat, restaurants continue to treat visitors with drinks, including coffee, to take away. So, WasBarMechelen sells coffee and bakery products at a very tempting price, thus attracting those who are busy at work and do not have time to prepare a snack for themselves, as well as those who just want to drink a cup of hot coffee and have a croissant with chocolate.

Today, the tradition of taking coffee on to go, prevalent in large, bustling business cities like Moscow, New York and Tokyo, has become part of the tradition of European cities. Both owners of cafes throughout Europe and their visitors supported this new tradition. Resilience is what we all need now. And one more shot of espresso, please…

Text, photo: Ekaterina Gril.