Nicosia is surprisingly modern and cool. The city has another surprise up its sleeve though. The café scene is pretty big and in particular, speciality coffee. It’s not your regular English cuppa or your New York cup of cawfee. It’s Cypriot coffee and true to the roots of this country it’s legendary and unique.
Cypriot coffee is used to tell a drinker’s fortune. Forget tea leaves or crystal balls, as far as the locals are concerned your coffee says a lot about you.
Heated in a small, long handled pot known as a mbrikia, a Cypriot coffee is usually made with finely ground coffee beans. It’s typically sweetened with sugar (though you can have it without), and unlike in England, the sugar is added when the water is still cold. Once it’s boiled the sugar creates a foamy froth known as kaimaki.
It’s served in small cups, similar to an espresso cup. It’s strong like an espresso too. However that’s where the similarities end. A Cypriot coffee is meant to be sipped slowly to avoid the fine grains from the beans. This is especially true for the last bit of the drink. They collect in the cup and it’s here where the fortune telling comes into play.
It’s said that once you’ve got to that very last bit of the drink, you should turn your cup upside down, onto the saucer. Leave it for a minute or two before turning it back upright. The patterns from the coffee are said to reveal a glimpse into your future. On my trip to Nicosia, one of my group was told to expect a fight, whilst another was told to see a lighthouse (or something of a similar shape if you get my drift!). Whether it’s true or not, it’s certainly a fun game to spend on a sunny afternoon in Cyprus.
It helps that there are loads of coffee shops to choose from; cute, stylish, arty and so on. If you’re want something a little different head to the café at Ermou300. It used to be a “khan” in the 1800s, where people would pass by with their animals and enter a market place. They would tie up their animals in the stables and exchange their goods in the open gardens. People would sleep over in the separate rooms and then ride their animals back home to their villages.
Today you’d never guess what Ermou300 used to be. It’s now super modern, full of bright colours and pretty lights. The enterprise is used for lots of different things now, including an architect’s studio, contemporary concept stores, exhibition areas and a café. The open air centre is a perfect stop for a Cypriot coffee and a bit of fortune telling in the lovely sunshine. What will your cup say…?
P.S. Hamam Omerye is just round the corner, so maybe your cup will tell you that you must visit a spa…X
#SundayServed is all about worldly food and drink. Join me every Sunday for a slice of deliciousness around the globe.