When we were in Spain earlier this year, I tried what one coffee shop called a ‘Bulgarian Coffee’. Laced with local honey and with lots of creamy milk, it was pretty tasty and I was looking forward to seeing such a concoction on offer when we got to Bulgaria.
Sadly, in Varna it wasn’t to be. And our first attempt at a more conventional (ie western) idea of a caffe latte produced something so weak and milky it barely warranted the name coffee. So, the less said about that experience the better.
Our second try came good, though, and we can thoroughly recommend My Café (by Ani Boland) for coffee in Varna. A bit of a mouthful if you insist on using its full title, but if I lived in Varna, it would indeed be my cafe, so on that level they got the name about right.
All the coffees – and their teas – are imported from France through that big supplier Cafés Richard, so there’s no speciality local roaster round here. But still, this was a decent brew, and the friendly welcome and good bar staff made us go back for more, even though we were less than 24 hours in town.
On our first visit, one local guy was so convinced we’d like the coffee that he promised to pay for our drinks if we didn’t! We did, though, so he didn’t…
On our second visit we had one of those encounters that crop up from time to time, with an English couple, one of whom was living over here in Bulgaria, and had actually worked on the (unsuccessful) bid for City of Culture 2019. Those chance encounters are always fun, and if we hadn’t been catching our bus out of town within the hour, we might have lingered longer to hear more of their story. But it was nice to feel their enthusiasm at what we are doing on our overland quest…
Tea in Varna was interesting.
The Jasmine Tea House has a lovely area inside with cushions and lanterns giving it a middle eastern feel.
But it seems to function much more as a (mainly vegetarian) restaurant, so we actually took our tea there over a meal in the evening. This meant we missed out on trying the cake stand which also looked pretty decent.
It’s worth noting, though, that we saw nobody in the tea room area, although the restaurant was pretty lively and the kids’ play area positively jumping. So, perhaps there just isn’t a market for a tea room to survive round here just on tea, rather as it was with the Open Heart lounge in Brasov, meaning places like this need to diversify to survive.
Still, we had an excellent Darjeeling at the Jasmine Tea House, and given the beautiful tea lounge area, it will get a good write up on the reviews once we get on to writing those up properly.
So, this was a brief excursion into tea and coffee in Bulgaria. I didn’t get the honey drink I’d hoped for, but I can confirm, you can get a decent brew in Bulgaria – in Varna anyway…