Specialty Coffee Culture in St. Petersburg

Drinking coffee has become an everyday habit for many of us. Choosing a coffee house or a package of coffee beans in a shop can be a problem for a non-professional. As well as other products, coffee can be of different quality and that influences the taste. So where can we find the perfect cup?

The answer is — at specialty coffee houses. These places choose the best brands of coffee beans and usually buy them straight from farmers. Coffee can be graded as "specialty" only if it was made from an extremely high quality raw material. According to Tasty Coffee, one of the biggest roasting companies of specialty coffee in Russia, less than 10% of all Arabica in the world deserves the title.

Although in specialty coffee houses a cup of coffee can be a bit more expensive, the taste is way better than in other places. Also, they offer other ways of brewing coffee apart from espresso machines. For example, filter or aeropress (these methods don’t include such high pressure as espresso machines and create a light taste of the beverage). Usually specialty coffee houses create their own recipes of food and drinks to differ from other cafes. That’s why there you can enjoy not only a cup of coffee but also some delicious desserts.

In Russia, the culture of drinking quality coffee wasn’t popular until 2012. Then, Nikolay Gotko opened the first specialty coffee house in St. Petersburg — Bolshe Kofe (More Coffee — Ed.). It created an interest for quality coffee in the city. Slowly, a community of people passionate about coffee began to form.

Now, Gotko owns four coffee houses, a school for baristas and a roasting place. Bolshe Kofe is famous not only among people who are interested in coffee. People of different types come to this place to have a good time. It’s important to teach people to drink tasty coffee and raise the bar in the industry. This way specialty coffee can become more affordable and more common.

Of course, Bolshe Kofe isn’t the only specialty place in the city. Now there are dozens of specialty coffee houses in St. Petersburg — Character Coffee, Gotcha, Schegol, to name but a few. There, you can not only drink a cup of delicious coffee but also buy coffee beans to make one at home. If you are an amateur in this field, it’s way easier to choose a good package of coffee there than in a usual shop.

Also, baristas at specialty coffee houses are more open to tell you something about the subject and answer your questions. If you ask, they will help you choose the perfect coffee beverage and tell you everything about the beans it is made of. Talking to baristas can develop your taste in coffee and deepen your knowledge.

But the most important thing in the coffee industry is not coffee shops or roasting companies. It’s the people. Those who are passionate about the subject open coffee shops, create podcasts, magazines, and blogs. These activities promote high quality coffee and make it more and more common. Because of this involvement, the industry keeps rapidly developing.

Written by Sonya Savushkina