Coffee is a huge phenomena here in Slovenia. People think that Portland is the land of coffee shops, but Ljubljana has Portland blown out of the water in terms of sheer quantity and classiness. Charming coffee shop after coffee shop line the streets here.
I will admit that if you’re aiming for quality, Portland may have a one-up on Slovenia. In Slovenia, you can indeed get consistently fine coffee, but there isn’t the gourmet super-compulsive coffee culture of Portland. Also, forget it if you want a big cup of Joe. Drip coffee is nonexistent here, (really,) and serving sizes max out at about 8 oz. (People would look at you like you were nuts if you walked around with even a Starbucks “tall” latte cup. It just isn’t done here.) I will admit that I miss my soy Cafe au Lait.
Slovenia does have Portland beat in several ways, though. To-go cups are incredibly rare, although tiny ones are available in a few places. I appreciate this. There is something so much better about sitting down to a real ceramic cup of coffee than a paper cup. Its just…nicer. Another win is that there are no milk options. You have one: whole milk. Take it or drink your expresso straight, my friends. Yum. Slovenians also don’t have any flavoring available with their coffee. I have never ever ever ever seen syrup flavorings. Your sweetening options are also limited, too. Only sugar is available, forget artifical anything. Delicious!
Anyway, getting around to what I wanted to talk about, there are an absurd amount of coffee shops here. How do they all stay in business? My roommates and I had a Slovenian over for dinner last night, and we have discovered the answer: people don’t sleep. Or at least, the University students don’t sleep. Apparently six hours of sleep is the norm?! You LEAVE YOUR HOUSE to go out at night around 11 pmish. Also, if you do want socialize, you do it during the week, not the weekend, because everybody goes home to the countryside on the weekends. Classes often start at 8 or 9, and unlike in the States, it’s unusual to live next-door to your classes. Rolling out of bed and stumbling to class in your sweatpants isn’t an option. That’s why the students get so little sleep- if they want to study, go to school and see their friends, the ending result is not much shut eye.
Conclusion: I theorize that since sleep-deprived students comprise about one-seventh of the population of the entire city of Ljubljana, they consume enough caffeine to keep the whole cafe industry afloat.