Cof­fee shops with soul on Artema

Kyiv Post - - Lifestyle - Kyiv Post ed­i­tor James Mar­son can be reached at mar­[email protected]

The en­joy­ment of cof­fee de­pends not only on the beans, but also the at­mos­phere of the cafe where it is drunk.

In Kyiv, both of these in­gre­di­ents are of­ten ab­sent.

The city suf­fers from a glut of wannabe Star­bucks cafes that are all im­i­ta­tions of each other. Cof­fee House, Cof­fee Time, Cof­fee Life – all have sim­i­lar names, rub­bery desserts and soul­less in­te­ri­ors.

Two cafes that re­cently opened on Artema Street just off Lvivska Square are a wel­come break from the trend, Cof­fee­tut and Esperanto.

Cof­fee­tut, or “Cof­fee­here,” is a stylish cafe of­fer­ing great cof­fee and a cool, re­laxed at­mos­phere. It has a light and spa­cious sit­ting area with high seats, lead­ing to a counter at the back.

The cafe is chic with­out be­ing pre­ten­tious. There are a pile of books and mag­a­zines (Esquire, Snob), only one of the usu­ally ubiq­ui­tous plasma screens, and the choice of mu­sic is funky but re­laxed.

The menu is sim­ple – drinks in­clud­ing cof­fee and freshly squeezed juices, as well as some desserts – but the ex­e­cu­tion is spot on. Cof­fee­tut proves that there’s no need to over­com­pli­cate things.

The cof­fee comes from Julius Meinl, an Aus­trian cof­fee com­pany with a 150year his­tory. It’s well-pre­sented in a cup and saucer, and the taste is among the best in Kyiv. A cap­puc­cino sets you back Hr 22, tea costs Hr 25 and fresh juices are Hr 26. Take­outs get a dis­count.

There are a few tasty desserts on of­fer, in­clud­ing tiramisu. They are fresh, rich and not sickly sweet, avoid­ing the man­u­fac­tured taste that ru­ins many cof­fee­house desserts in Kyiv.

This is a place for cof­fee lovers: You can also buy cof­fee and cof­fee ma­chines here.

Next door is Esperanto. Un­for­tu­nately, the own­ers have de­cided to mimic the Star­bucks sign. This is in­ex­pli­ca­ble given that it tries to cre­ate a niche for it­self as a cafe that also of­fers take­out sand­wiches and sal­ads, as well as cold meat cuts and cheese.

The cof­fee here is cheaper – Hr 17 for a cap­puc­cino. There’s also a 50-per­cent dis­count on take­outs from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. It’s not quite as good as next door and it’s served in card­board cups.

There are also a va­ri­ety of cakes, from Vi­en­nese Sacher­torte to cheese­cake.

The seat­ing is in a back room, where a poor choice of fur­ni­ture and a lack of space make ev­ery­thing more crammed than you would like it to be. It’s still quite cozy, though.

The deli of­fer­ings are a mixed bag. The Parma ham and Parme­san cheese are the real deal and rea­son­ably priced (by Kyiv stan­dards). The sand­wiches are not fresh, as they claim to be, with brown let­tuce and card­board bread.

My fa­vorite is Cof­fee­tut – it wins on taste, sim­plic­ity and style. That said, Esperanto is still bet­ter than most other cof­fee­houses in Kyiv.

Dinky new cof­fee shops on Ar­ty­oma Street Cof­fee­tut and Esperanto are a wel­come ad­di­tion to Kyiv’c cof­fee scene. (Kostyan­tyn Ch­er­nichkin)

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