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Alongside Split, Zagreb is home to some of Croatia's best specialty coffee shops. Being several hours inland though, the vibe here is very different, with a more central European feel compared to the chilled out warmth of the Adriatic coast.
I first visited in 2008 and have visited several times in the last few years. Each time, new cafés have opened and there's now a real buzz to the city's coffee scene.
Here's our rundown of the current top rated specialty coffee shops on Kava - the specialty coffee app.
Four Wheel must be in one of the most surprising and unassuming places I've ever found a specialty coffee shop. It's on the second floor of a kinda weird shopping centre a short walk out of the centre of the city.
But it's well worth seeking out, as it's currently the top ranked coffee shop in Zagreb on Kava.
As Kava user aisee83 says, "Karlo hits close to perfection."
With the notable exception of Cogito, most of Zagreb's coffee shops source their beans from elsewhere in Croatia or internationally, but Four Wheel roast their own beans, giving them full control over the flavour profile they're looking for.
Not only are the coffees exceptionally good, they're served in beautiful handmade cups which lend a nice finishing touch.
Find them on Kava here.
I was so excited when I saw that the apartment I was staying in last time I visited was right around the corner from Luta, who I'd been following on Instagram since they opened last year. The moment I dropped my bags at the apartment I headed straight there and it was love at first sip.
I ordered a Cortado, but Matej brought me an espresso with the same beans to compare the two side by side. During our couple of weeks in the city I visited several times and whether I ordered a V60, a Flat White or anything else in between, every time the coffee was superb.
The bright and airy corner location is clean and simply decorated - with their artful branding throughout.
Without a doubt one of the best new additions to Zagreb's coffee scene. Check them out on Kava here.
Writing this, I've just realised that Four Wheel, Luta and Monocycle would make a great coffee crawl, working your way back into the city centre as you become increasingly caffeinated. In fact, I think I'll do this next time I'm in Zagreb.
Monocycle was founded in 2019 and instantly became one of the must-visit coffee shops in Zagreb. If it's not too cold, grab a seat on their street terrace, watching the trams go by and looking out at the iconic Croatian Association of Fine Artists building.
They're not a roastery so they source beans from other roasters like Cogito but usually have various options available including some lighter roasts which really shine in an Americano.
In the evenings, Monocycle transforms into a great spot to come for an aperitif - we recently sat on their mezzanine and had a great Negroni.
Rate your coffee at Monocycle here.
Broom44 is the first place on this list that's got a serious food offering beyond cakes and pastries - It's firmly in the category of Instagrammable brunch spots. But that doesn't mean it's all style over substance. They really care about their coffee and are serious about its quality.
It's pretty much the complete package. Great coffee. Delicious breakfast, brunch and lunch food. It's even a good place to work (as long as you are respectful and don't hog your table too much). Aaaaand they have a selection of craft beers and natural wines.
But we're here for the coffee. Broom44 source from some great roasters like Denmark's Prolog. Their Flat Whites are great but it's the quality of their Batch Brew that really stands out. Like Four Wheel, they opt for an unconventional cup style, with some very special handmade cups that are all unique.
Take a look at those beautiful cups and rate your own coffee at Broom44 here.
In the yard is the first of Cogito Coffee's places to make this list. If you've ever visited Croatia, you'll likely have come across Cogito Coffee. Founded in 2014, they were one of Croatia's first specialty coffee roasters. Today, they're still at the top of their game, with locations throughout their home city of Zagreb, as well as Dubrovnik.
In the yard feels distinctly different from most of their other coffee shops. It's quiet courtyard location makes it a little oasis from the bustle of Zagreb's traffic.
Whether I want to just sit and chill or to get some work done, it's always high on my list. The best spot in the house is on the bench seating in the window, looking out over the courtyard.
Last time I visited, I was super excited to see that Nesputana Vina, a wine shop with a great selection of natural wines has just opened in the same courtyard. So if, like me, your passions include natural wine as well as coffee, you won't be able to resist picking up a few bottles once you've finished your coffee.
Check out In the yard on Kava here.
Express Bar could not be more conveniently situated, right in the heart of the city, just off Ban Josipa Jelačića square. In fact, it's so central that it's surrounded by generic cafés selling generic big brand coffee.
If the recommendation hadn't come from Matej Šerer of Tinel in Split, I might have overlooked it altogether and written it off as just another crappy city centre café. But it's well worth a stop as Zoran Šudar is one of the most talented baristas in the city.
Find them on Kava here, and after dark (or whatever time you like - no judgment here) be sure to try one of their cocktails too.
Cogito Coffee / Deželićeva holds a special place in my heart, being the first place in Zagreb that I went for specialty coffee, and the reason why I've used this image several times on the Kava app and website. It was one of those cold, crisp days when winter is nearly over and spring is arriving. I was sat on the terrace with the sun shining and the blue and green cup and saucer that my coffee arrived in seemed to be almost lit up in a neon glow. It was a special moment.
Cogito have several locations throughout the city. If I'm in the mood for working, I'll go to In the yard. If I want to quietly chill, I'll go to Cogito Coffee Shop / Urania. But if I just want to soak up some Zagreb vibes and bask in the feeling of being in one of my favourite cities, then Deželićeva is where I go.
If you want to recreate my blissful moment, you can find their page on Kava here.
Teneo Coffee Shop is located a little out of the centre by the Trešnjevka market. This is not a fancy tourist market. This is a real market where you can find traditional Croatian products and one of the best Burek stalls in Zagreb.
But of course, we're not just here for the Burek, we're here for the coffee. And Teneo is well worth the detour out of the city centre. You'll know when you've found it - the bright yellow cabin is hard to miss, even (or maybe especially) on a dreary grey day like it was when this picture of me there was taken.
Founded in 2009, Teneo was the first specialty coffee shop in Zagreb. Not only are they a coffee shop but they're a roastery and barista school too, with courses for baristas and home coffee making enthusiasts.
Check them out on Kava here and get rating your coffees.
Don’t agree with this ranking? It’s up to you to start rating your coffees on Kava specialty coffee app and make sure your favorites move up the rankings.
Kava is the new free app for specialty coffee lovers.
Kava helps you discover the best specialty coffee shops. Rate your coffees and share images, comments and likes with your friends and followers.
Get it now for free on Android or iPhone here.