The eighth-annual Coffee Week kicks off throughout Prague and the Czech Republic today. Held annually since 2011 to coincide with International Coffee Day, it takes place from October 1-8.
Over 100 coffee-related events in cafés will take place over the seven-day long Coffee Week with 80+ cafés participating throughout the Czech Republic, including Prague.
Coffee Week is co-organized by Brno-based non-profit Kulturárium; coordinators say that the goal of the week-long event is to support local cafés while spreading coffee culture and education about the story of coffee from a plant to cup.
In Prague, drink specials and events are taking place at a number of venues including Selfie Café on Vodičkova, Kafé v Klidu near Národní třída, Café Republika in Letná, and Vinohrady’s Café Pražírna which will offer a new gin-and-tonic filter-coffee drink for the occasion.
There’s even a special promotion devoted to that perennial Czech favorite — the “turecká káva“; specialty coffee seller Made In Syria will be offering stainless steel Turkish coffee pots and Hamwi coffee with cardamom at a discount.
It’s significant that Brno is the seat of this week’s caffeinated festivities: it’s said that one of the first coffeehouses in the country was opened there.
Coffee was introduced to Czechs at the end of the 16th century by Heřman Černín an imperial envoy of the Turkish sultan.
It took more than a hundred years for the bean-based beverage to catch on in the Czech lands (it was initially only sold in pharmacies because it was considered a gastric remedy!).
In 18th-century Prague, coffee was a luxury for the rich burgher population, but when the first café opened At the Golden Snake on Karlova street in 1714, its popularity soared.
So how do you explain the Czech-style turek which has no connection to a proper Turkish coffee?
Turek is a holdover from the communist era which gained popularity after the war when private roasters were nationalized and quality coffee was scarce. It is made by pouring boiling water over ground coffee.
Of course, these days in Prague you can’t toss a bean without hitting a gourmet coffeehouse; take your pick from this round-up of Prague roasters while brushing up on your Prague coffee snob etiquette from A-Z here.
For a map and full list of Coffee Week events see here.
Later this month the annual Prague Coffee Festival hits Pražská tržnice; from October 20-21 coffee lovers can enjoy a presentation of selected roasters and cafés, cuppings, workshops, and lectures; unlimited coffee degustation is included in the ticket price.