Being a café reviewer is a tough gig. Munching cake and sipping cappuccinos (or should that be cappucini?) is frankly exhausting. Then there’s the scouting out of new establishments — circumnavigating Prague, eyes peeled, ready to spot the latest hip haunt just as it opens its doors.
Sometimes the stars align to make life easy for you. Just before Christmas, I agree to meet a friend for coffee. The place I had in mind turns out to be a Herna bar. Oops. A few doors along, we stumble upon a new establishment which had set up shop only days before. Welcome to Coffee Beans.
Given that Holešovice is undergoing that transformation from industrial suburb to up-and-coming neighborhood, there aren’t that many decent cafes in the area to choose from. Coffee Beans aims to fill that gap. The interior is bright and appealing with an old-world feel that stay the right side of kitsch despite the plaster cherubs dancing around the light fittings. There are lots of stripy sofas but think fin-de-siecle salon rather than marshmallow monstrosities. On all my visits, the service was friendly and attentive. Don’t be put off by the fact the menu is only in Czech, as the staff are all eager to practice their English: the owner was particularly keen to chat.
When it comes to the actual drinks, the menu is extensive. There’s a wide selection of coffees on offer, as well as fresh teas (mint or ginger), ‘fruit cocktails’ (aka smoothies), ice teas, and wine. I opted for a latte (48 CZK) which was served in a tall glass with a handle (how many places could learn from this example?) with a tiny glass of water and a biscotti. The latte was possibly the best I’ve ever sampled in Prague with just the right coffee to milk ratio. If you need more aqua vitae with your caffeine fix, you can get a half litre carafe of tap water for just 10 CZK.
I also tried the carrot cake (60 CZK). It was sweet and moist with lots of white icing: perhaps a touch on the sickly side overall, but that didn’t stop me polishing off the whole thing. The choice of desserts on offer wasn’t vast, although on both visits I did come at the end of the day. There were also a few sandwiches and some slices of quiche, but this isn’t the place if you want something substantial. However, if you happen to live or work nearby, popping in for breakfast is an option: muffins and croissants await early birds menu from 08:00.
I’m very glad I discovered Coffee Beans. Its winning combination of cosy interior, great coffee, and service with a genuine smile will definitely lure me back.
I’m still curious about that Herna bar though…
Tusarova 1521/26, Holesovice
Brand of coffee: in-house blends
Serves food: yes