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"The good coffee doesn't need to be explained"-an interview with Tibor Várady bartender


  • We Love Budapest

13/07/2011 2.00am

Any watchful locals of Budapest – like WeLoveBudapest staff – we do like to be drawn by our nose and heart while wandering around the city. Luckily, our intuitions always drive us to the right places. It all happened the same way when we entered Pintra Café in Rumbach Sebestyén Street. This little place turns all coffee-making conventions upside-down right in the middle of a small design shop

The café is owner-operated, so if you drop in for a cup of espresso, it is likely that Tibor Várady – the owner – will serve you. He will surely have some good words to you and about your coffee.

He got inspiration from the best cafés in London, that is why he became a follower of the third wave of the American coffee-drinking culture. After having your coffee prepared at home, or grabbing one in the closest shop of a café-chain, finally you will sip some real specialty from your coffee cup.

Handicraft-style, selected coffee beans will meet the careful preparing of baristas inside the walls, where care and love of coffee are the key terminology of the newest wave of coffee-drinking.

With Tibor, the owner and barista of Printa Café, we are talking about coffee consumption of Budapest.Coffee of Budapest – What is it like? I think Budapest is similar to many other bigger cities, where you can get a cup of coffee in many places, but only a few of them are prepared professionally.

A good Italian coffee brand does not guarantee prime quality, since you can spoil the coffee in many other ways, like wrong grinding methods or not properly cleaned espresso machine. It is important that a barista should set the grinder properly in order to have a perfect flow of water, since it could completely change the final taste of coffee. Milk frothing is again a crucial point. There are many places where they serve coffee with milk boiled over 100 °C, although it is well-known that milk has the best taste and quality on 60-70 °C.What are the first signs of a bad coffee? The most important is that the espresso – as the basic ingredient – should be excellent. There is something very wrong if it is not tasty enough and can only be drunk with sugar and cream. If one likes only this way, is another point, but the espresso itself must stand on its own. I think we are usually served too bad coffees, so this could be the explanation of our strange coffee-drinking habits. Coffee-making is a very simple process, like frying chips. However, in some restaurants your potatoes are greasy and too salty, while you can taste the crispy, fine version in somewhere else. Coffee varies from place to place the same way.

Where can we drink an excellent cup of coffee in Budapest? Café-chains are definitely the most popular places today in Budapest. Due to the regular and continuous checks, in many cases, you will get better quality there than in an independent coffee house. In some cafés, the espresso machine is just there, but nobody really cares for it.

On the other hand, there are some cafés like Printa Café, where the basic ingredients are prime quality and baristas consider coffee-making as a profession. These kinds of coffee places are Sarki Fűszeres, 8 Gramm, Massolit bookstore or Café Cino.Where is the special ingredient from?First of all, we choose coffee specialties from selected farms via direct trade that guarantees high prices for the producers and high quality for our customers.

These are handicraft coffee farms, so from the producer the beans are roasted and then coffee arrives directly to us. We personally buy coffee from Kenya, from Mugaga farmlands, or Vista Hermosa farms in Guatemala. They both send coffee to a Danish roasting company and finally coffee arrives to Hungary, to us. The Coffee Collective, the company we have our beans roasted, has already won a barista world championship.

How open is the Hungarian ‘coffee-drinker society’ for these new cafés?I think if you make a good coffee, you have an easy job, because the difference can be felt clearly. Luckily, a good coffee does not need any explanation, and we don’t necessarily have to pay more. You can also drink an espresso, a cappuccino, or a long-black in Printa as well as anywhere else in the city. The difference is that we put much more emphasis on profession and care of coffee-making.

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