A Little Travel Memory … My Big Bosnian Coffee Blunder

I winced as I took my first sip of the jet-black Bosnian coffee—it was certainly not your average American brew! My couchsurfing hosts in Sarajevo, Furkan and his roommates Anida and Sidak, decided that I couldn’t leave Sarajevo without stopping in the Turkish quarter for a traditional Bosnian coffee complete with Turkish Delight. They were wonderful hosts and took me throughout the city in search of vegetarian food, they pointed out the points of interest and the highlights of the small and cute city, but I think it was the traditional setting of coffee that excited Sidak most in showing us around.

A traditional Turkish/Bosnia Tea

A traditional set-up of Turksih coffee with sweets (Turkish Delight) and sugar cubes to cut the acidic and strongly brewed coffee we were served in the Old Town section of Sarajevo.

After that first wince from the thick unsweetened coffee, Sidak got a kick out of watching me attempt to sip the battery acid…I mean coffee, from a delicate little cup and then through a sugar cube I was biting between my teeth (a traditional way to drink it); after dribbling more than a bit down my chin Sidak gave me a reprieve and suggested I bite a bit off and let it melt in my mouth as I sip the coffee – much easier and less stressful to boot!

Quick Travel Tips for Sarajevo, Bosnia

Sightseeing Sarajevo: The cobble-stoned streets of the Turkish area are a delightful a maze of small shops and fun knick-knacks – full of tiny coffee shops and hole-in-the-wall food vendors.
Hiking: Ask locals for a path and head to the hills surrounding the outside of the city.
Foods: The Burek – cheese, meat, or spinach and served with a tart plain yogurt – perfect for lunch!

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14 Responses to A Little Travel Memory … My Big Bosnian Coffee Blunder

  1. As We Travel August 20, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    I loved Sarajevo, it was definitely the nicest city in Bosnia. Walking along the cobble stoned streets were such a picturesque experience!
    I also found the people much different in Sarajevo compared to other places in Bosnia, very friendly!

    • ShannonOD August 20, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

      I didn't actually make it out of Sarajevo when I was in Bosnia, I went to
      Mostar and enjoyed that! Agree though that it's a great little friendly
      city that so many people skip still because it's not precisely on the
      tourist path! :-)

  2. Gourmantic August 20, 2010 at 2:27 am #

    I love Turkish and Arabic coffees and I can drink them as long as they're sweet! Of course, I'm buzzing around all day as a result but I enjoy the rich coffee taste :)

    • ShannonOD August 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

      They really are tasty…now that I have been traveling more* *I am getting
      much more of a taste for the strong brews…but I don't do sugar, so that's
      why it's a bit much sometimes!

  3. GlobalButterfly August 18, 2010 at 3:03 am #

    Yum!!! Now I want some coffee hahaha.

    • ShannonOD August 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

      Every time I look at the post I start jonesin' too! mmmm :-)

  4. Maryrichardson August 18, 2010 at 1:07 am #

    It's interesting to try all the manifestations of coffee around the world. Ever tried authentic vietnamese coffee? Whoa! On the other hand, that typical lunch plate sounds just about right for my lunch right now!

    • ShannonOD August 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

      I haven't tried Vietnamese coffee yet but I'll add it to my list! I'm
      actually getting much better about not wincing at foreign coffee because
      outside of the US it is so strong! :-)

  5. Natalie August 17, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    Coffee..) One more reason to visit Saraevo)

    • ShannonOD August 17, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

      Would definitely be worth the trip :-)

  6. Dtravelsround August 16, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

    Great info! I head to Sarajevo on Thursday! We'll to compare notes! :)

    • ShannonOD August 17, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

      Yay!! I just loved the city to pieces, if you're on Couch Surfing see if you
      can meet up with Furkan for coffee…I think he's still in the city and one
      of only 5 ppl in Sarajevo on CSing :-) Have fun and can't wait to hear
      your stories!

  7. Audrey August 16, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

    This story reminds me of staying in Armenia where they would call their coffee “Oriental Coffee” because they didn't want to give any credit to the Turks (aka, enemies). Although, usually the Armenians would add sugar into the cooking process so you didn't have to suck the coffee through a sugar cube. Would love to visit Bosnia one day.

    • ShannonOD August 17, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

      I found Bosnia a really special country – the mixed sentiments because of
      the fairly recent troubles make for a lot of hugely different opinions
      depending who you talk to…I was told to just steer clear of too
      discussions about Croat/Serbian/Turkish/Bosnian relations, for the same
      reasons the Armenians call it Oriental coffee. I think adding sugar at the
      start would certainly make it a bit easier :-)

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