A quick glance around I.P. Pavlova confirms what you already knew: the international coffee chains are percolating their way across Prague. However, there’s good news for devotees to the bean in the neighborhood. A few steps from the metro only a baguette’s length from French patisserie giant Paul, a new Mecca for java lovers has opened its doors.
The clue to Pražírna’s unique selling point is in its name, the Czech word for coffee roasting plant. Yep, you guessed it – all their beans are roasted on the premises. As you would therefore expect, every possible káva variation is on the menu – Americano and cappuccino; flat white and filter, all at reasonable prices. For a feisty pick-me-up, you could even try a pepino – that’s a double expresso with a shot of tequila and a dash of cream on top. Not everyone is a slave to caffeine, so it was nice to see a selection of classic Czech winter warmers on offer like medovina (a boozy hot tipple made from honey) and svařák (mulled wine).
Despite its stripped-down interior – the walls are unadorned brick apart from the odd arty black and white photo – Pražírna somehow manages to be cosy rather than austere. There are pleasing decorative touches such as granny-chic sugar bowls and the obligatory bookshelves to browse through required in any aspiring hip cafe. There’s plenty of seating available of both the squishy and hard-backed kind so you can laze away the afternoon in a comfy chair or hook up to the wifi and do some serious freelancing depending on your mood. The service is friendly and attentive but this remains a place you feel able to linger without ordering every five minutes.
The coffee itself is of course excellent quality, proffered on a small metal tray and served with a decent-sized tumbler of tap water. Don’t expect Starbucks-style mega portions though: here at Pražírna, less is more.
And they really do roast their own. On my second visit, the red contraption which dominates the back room was being poured full of beans: proof that the coffee roaster, huge hessian sacks and old-fashioned scales are not mere decoration and that the name above the door is no marketing ploy. When it comes to different blends, interested customers can take home a 200g bag of a káva of their choice from practically anywhere in the coffee growing world for 160 CZK.
My grumbles are minor: the carrot cake I tried as part of the breakfast menu (coffee plus your choice of cake for 70 CZK) was edible but seemed dry and overly sweet. I was also hoping that the place would be infused with that delicious rich smell of freshly ground beans but I didn’t pick up on any such pleasing aroma. Perhaps I should clean out my nostrils before my next visit.
All in all, Pražírna has all the right ingredients for a successful 21st century coffee house. I personally guarantee you’ll leave feeling full of beans.
Lublaňská 50, Praha 2 – Vinohrady
Brand of coffee: in-house blends
Serves food: yes
Hours: Mon- Fri 8.30am – 10.00pm
Sat: 2pm – 10pm
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