Bosnia’s coffee culture

If you’re visiting Bosnia, this coffee-drinking advice could be very helpful.

Written by Tim Clancy


On so many occasions I’ve watched confused visitors make a mess of the ritual of drinking a good Bosnian coffee, Turkish style. So here are the ABCs.

Turkish coffee comes in a small metal džezva (pronounced ‘jezva’) coupled with a small round cup called a fildžan (‘filjohn’). With the tiny spoon you gently stir the top layer of coffee in the džezva. When the top turns a cream colour you are ready to pour. The džezva is usually filled with a little more coffee than the fildžan can hold. Be aware that at the bottom of džezva are the coffee grounds that will feel like a mouthful of sand if you pour all the way to the bottom. Leave a tiny layer on the bottom of the džezva just to be sure.

Bosnian coffee, Bosnia by Silverije, Wikimedia CommonsA Bosnian coffee set, including a džezva and fildžan © Silverije, Wikimedia Commons

Traditionally the sugar cubes are dipped into the fildžan and eaten. Feel free to plump them into the coffee and stir. Always hold the fildžan from the outer rim and never by the body, for it will more than likely be hot. If the fildžan is served in a copper holder that is meant to hold the heat in, don’t pick up the copper holder to drink your coffee – that stays on the table.

In some places a jelly-like candy called rahatlokum is served. It will be coated with powdered sugar and have a toothpick sticking out from it. It seems obvious what is next but I’ve seen people trying to dip the rahatlokum into the coffee. Please don’t do that. Bend towards the table (the powdered sugar tends to go everywhere) and enjoy your Turkish delight.

If you want to learn more about Bosnia’s cultural secrets, pick up a copy of our guide to the country with a 10% discount:

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