Kofetarica (Coffee-drinker) accompanied by Ljubljana coffee

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Everyone knows the lady with the penetrating and benevolent look who stares at us from the wall of the National Gallery - Ivana Kobilca’s Kofetarica (Coffee-drinker) is probably Slovenia’s most famous work of art. And when did you last look her in the eye?

The twenty-six-year-old artist painted her while studying in Munich and caught the moment of simple pleasure, which one can enjoy at all stages of life, with her masterly brushstrokes. Whoever takes a long, deep look at Kobilca’s Kofetarica will never drink coffee in the same way again. From now on may every cup of coffee be a special moment, a moment in which the cultural and the culinary meet.

The cup of coffee has always had a very special place in Slovenian culture, both in literature and in art. In fact, the coffee-drinking ritual and even the simple invitation to “go for a coffee” have multiple meanings in Slovene: it can be an invitation for a chat but can also express dimensions of friendship, socializing, business, and sometimes even romance. And you can also enjoy the drink in different ways: sometimes you gulp down the noble brown fluid at the bar and rush off to wherever you are headed, alternatively the cup of pleasantly-smelling coffee with a frothy white cap can spark off a long coffee-drinking session with a friend.

© Kavarna Moderna

Coffee came to the Slovene lands in the 17th century and was enjoyed solely by the wealthiest social classes until the 19th century when wealthier country people also began drinking it, but it was primarily women that drew strength from it. The first cafe opened in Ljubljana in 1713. Most of the coffee that was brought to the Slovene lands came from Trieste.

Nowadays, Slovenians rank fourth in the world when it comes to coffee consumption as the average inhabitant consumes 6.1 kg of coffee.

Tip: In the restaurant gardens of Ljubljana and numerous modern cafes the coffee machines have again begun whirring and the hands of skillful bartenders again pouring, frothing, and serving after the pandemic pause. Drinking coffee in June is a special experience. Especially if you combine it with a visit to see the famous Kofetarica by Ivana Kobilca in the National Gallery.

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© R & B Cafe

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