|Let's talk coffee shops!|
If you've spent much time in Ukraine's urban areas, you've undoubtedly stumbled across one (or ten or twenty) Coffee Life coffee shops. Coffee Life is to Ukraine what Starbucks is to the rest of the world. "There's coffee in our blood!" proclaims the back of the baristas' t-shirts. And in fact, there may be; last year Kyiv Post reported Ukraine as having the highest growth rate of coffee-drinking in the world.
|look familiar, anyone?|
Going back to that question- how could you not love this place? By playing Scrabble there every week for 17 months, that's how!
One favorite is Coffee Shop Vienna, not far from the Kharkov Opera House. I love coming to this tiny coffee house for its coziness and quiet atmosphere. The staff is very polite and they offer English menus if you need one.
Address: Chenrishevskogo 15, behind the Mirror Stream Fountain
I ordered the какао класический, or classic hot chocolate for 23 uah. It was delicious and more importantly- real hot chocolate, not the commonly-served thicker version (a melted chocolate bar in a cup that must be eaten with a spoon and is served with a small glass of water). Open from 8 AM to 11 PM, wifi.
"Coffee Time" is another nationwide chain. The branch just off Independence Square in Kiev is actually the first coffee shop I visited in Ukraine and I didn't manage to return until last November. This time I visited the location on the second floor of the Karavan mall and enjoyed tasty french fries and blini.
Кофейня Шоколадкаtheir website, boasts over 80 coffee drinks as well as chocolate fondue! For locations and hours, look here. I'd walked past the windows of the Pushkin street location a million times before finally getting the chance to go in for a cup of tea with a friend.
One unusual menu offering: chocolate artwork. You can buy anything from a chocolate cell phone (about 70 uah) to a colorful chocolate painting complete with chocolate frame (800 uah). I gave D a grinning chocolate cat for his birthday. Other chocolate items for sale include butterflies, lions, a mini-Porsche, shot glasses, and cameras. The only catch: while there's a lot on the menu, they only sell what they have in stock at the moment.
Meanwhile, the food is divine... and also freakishly expensive! We paid over 200 uah for a Coke, a hot chocolate, one salad, one small plate of pasta, and these unusual blini.
KoKAWA is my most recent find, courtesy of the fashionista friend who went with me to the previous cafe. It's a "book" coffee shop / restaurant and can seat up to 50 people. There's even a weekly board game night downstairs!
So if you've fallen into the Coffee Life rut, I encourage you to get out and try one of these other places. Kharkov is a city sprinkled with coffee shops and these 5 are just a small sample of what's available! Local readers- have you tried another coffee shop in town that you'd recommend?
PS: Nothing against Coffee Life. After all, despite these complaints we're still meeting there weekly for Scrabble and managing to have a good time :p If you want to try a Kharkov Coffee Life for the first time, I'd suggest the branch near the train station. It still has that "new" sheen to it, while others look more rundown but still charge 16 uah for a cup of hot water and a packet of black tea.
|Train Station Coffee Life in Kharkov|