I’m not a coffee drinker. I do not ever need a ‘coffee fix,’ but I do tend to drink coffee socially, especially when I am in Europe. It’s something to do when I’m out and about in cities and meeting up with friends. Good thing that most cities have lots of cafés.
Warsaw is not an exception to this rule, not by a long shot. There are locally owned, little restaurants and cafés in every district, on every other corner, and checking out all of them would take a lot of time. Besides, when you want to meet up with a friend sometimes it’s easier to stick with big name chains so that they’re easier to find. And just like in the United States, there are three major coffee chains that exist in Warsaw–both of which are British-owned.
Of course, this one will be at the top of my list, because it happens to be my favorite coffee chain of all time. I specifically drool over Starbucks’ frappuccinos during the summer, and the caramel macchiatos and white chocolate mochas during the winters. There’s something about their coffee that the others could not ever replicate. That said, there are about twenty-three Starbucks shops in Warsaw alone, with at least four to six of them located in the area of Nowy Swiat to the Palace of Culture and Science, with a few additional ones going south from there.
While I do enjoy Starbucks, one thing that I try to do is to stick with European brands during my time in Europe, as they’re usually more accessible than the American ones.
2. Costa Coffee
I discovered Costa’s a few years ago during a summer in Poland, and it became sort of
the “European Starbucks” in my opinion. It seems to have similar flavor profiles to that of Starbucks, but there are at least thirty shops across Warsaw proper. The coffee company has a membership that you can join and earn points every time you purchase something in their shop, and the prices are similar to that of Starbucks. One of the things that they do well is the frappuccinos (which they call something different)–it’s creamier than the Starbucks ones, and while it is cold, it doesn’t feel like all of the ice is being left at the bottom of the drink when you’re about to reach the end. For summer or something cold, it’s absolutely delicious.
3. Green Caffe Nero
This one used to be called Green Caffe and was owned by locals, before Cafe Nero purchased the company and made it into a chain. Like Costa Coffee, there’s at least thirty of them around Warsaw. But I find their flavor profile to not work for me at all. The coffee is too bitter, and very weak for me. The only thing that I found that I enjoyed was one of their fondant cakes, but otherwise than that, there’s nothing about the coffee chain that entices me, except that they’re a good place to stop at 6am in the morning after photographing at sunrise, because they’re literally the only thing open at that time that makes hot drinks.
That’s all of the chains that I know. Do you know of any others around Warsaw that I should check out on my next trip? Let me know in comments below!