Coffee is conquering Lviv. Most interesting coffee shops to visit

Have you ever tried coffee with M&Ms, cookies or snickers all in one glass? Or have you ever gone down to the coffee mine? If you haven’t, then you should visit Lviv. Here the way of serving coffee will undoubtedly surprise you. Along with the traditional coffee made on the sand as they do in “Virmenka”, in Lviv, they also make coffee with the help of manual coffee makers – Chemex, Siphon, AeroPress,  Pourover and Cold-Brew. Too many unfamiliar words? When it comes to Lviv coffee – you can always discover something new: unusual methods of preparation and original tastes. And portions in Lviv coffee shops are different: from a small cup to a giant glass in which dessert and coffee are together, as they say, “two in one”.

You may also be interested in our Excursions in Lviv.

The highlight of coffee Lviv, which attracts groups of tourists, is a coffee mine. Located in the heart of Lviv, on the Rynok square, Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture is the first in Ukraine longest coffee shop-bookstore.

Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture
Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture

30 types of coffee beverages are prepared here, and at the same time the cafe promotes Ukrainian books. But the main “trump card” of the coffee shop is the mine. And every visitor, wearing a helmet, can go down right in the cafe and see how they extract coffee, as according to the concept, coffee is a mineral that we can mine like coal or peat.

Cofee is roasted here:

Coffee roasting
Roasting process

How many bags of coffee beans there are in the coffee mine?!

You can only see more coffee at Lviv Coffee Festival, which takes place in Lviv every year in late September. It is a big event for the city. According to the organizers, it gathers more than 100 thousand participants. Lviv Coffee Festival is not just a coffee fair. That’s the whole thing.  You can see the Barista Championship and the Championship of Coffee-making in a cezve, as well as the “Coffee Memory” Championship. At the last one, participants taste eight varieties of coffee and listen to complete information about it. After a break, they have to guess the right cup without prompting. If such championships are not your cup of tea – it is not a problem. The festival is fascinating not only for professionals in the coffee business. For the event visitors, they also come up with some original ideas. For example, you can try to brew coffee in a 20-litre cezve.

Videnska Kaviarnia
A monument to Švejk near “Videnska Kaviarnia”.

But the most important thing at a coffee festival is the determination of the best coffee shop, within different nominations. To get such an award is very honourable and not so easy, because the competition is fierce, there are a lot of coffee shops, and their number is growing fast every year.

The popularity of coffee in Lviv is increasing at a breakneck speed. You can see people with a cup of coffee in the streets more and more often. But it wasn’t always like that. Soviet authorities almost destroyed the traditions of coffee drinking. At that time they replaced coffee shops in Lviv with tea houses. However, there were coffee houses in Lviv during the reign of “Grandma Austria”. And they were exquisite, with free newspapers. Those were places for wealthy and influential intellectuals and creative bohemians to gather. But nobody knows for sure what was the first coffee shop in the city.

Many believe it was “Videnska Kaviarnia” (1829) located at the same place as now – on Svobody Avenue behind the monument to Taras Shevchenko. But there is a document which certifies the existence of Levanovskyi’s coffee shop before that – in 1802.

In fact, there are a lot of myths about coffee in Lviv. And it is difficult to distinguish the truth from the fiction.

But there is a person in history associated with one of the first coffee shops in Europe. And that is Yurii Kulchytskyi, a Ukrainian nobleman from Halychyna, a native of the village of Kulchytsi, (hence the name – Kulchytskyi), who opened one of the first coffee houses in Vienna in 1686. Yurii Kulchytskyi is considered the author of the “Vienna Coffee” recipe. In 2013 in Lviv, a monument to Yuri Kulchytskyi was constructed, funded by Lviv coffee factory “Halka”.

A monument to Yuri Kulchytskyi.
A monument to Yuri Kulchytskyi.

Moreover, in the city of Lion, there is a coffee shop named the same as the one founded in Vienna by Yurii Kulchytskyi – “Pid synioiu pliashkoiu” (“Under the blue bottle”).

“Pid synioiu pliashkoiu" cafe in Lviv.
In the courtyard of “Pid synioiu pliashkoiu”.

The legendary coffee shop which has many regular customers and is famous for its delicious pastry and aromatic coffee is “Svit Kavy” (“The World of Coffee”). Opened in 2004, it has found its place in Lviv coffee market and became a favourite coffee shop of Andrii Sadovyi, the mayor of Lviv. He often invites his guests to this place. Therefore, the mayor has been seen there with Mikhail Saakashvili, and even with the President Petro Poroshenko. And the coffee shop itself has been repeatedly recognized as the best coffee house of the year.

“Lvivians know what the real coffee is. It is bitter, sweet or sour, but always has a feature. At the same time, making coffee is an intimate moment, because coffee mixes on love and then it is real coffee”, said the city chairman of Lviv Andrii Sadovyi at one of the coffee festivals, when he presented the award to his favourite coffee shop.

"Svit Kavy" cafe in Lviv
Respectable guests at “Svit Kavy”

Another coffee shop which has repeatedly become the best is “Virmenka”. In 2017 it has won the nomination “a coffee shop with a history”. Small but cosy, now legendary “Virmenka” has been operating in Lviv since 1979. At one time it became a favourite place of Lviv bohemians and progressive youth. Now some pictures remind of those times. You can see Kuzma from Hadiukiny Brothers on them among the “Virmenka” regulars.

In addition to photos, you can see the books, and you can buy or exchange some of them. Another tradition is “suspended” coffee. Earlier in the coffee shop there used to be an unwritten rule to “suspend” coffee for hang, that is, to buy coffee and warn a waiter to serve it when a friend joins in. Now there is a board where you can mark a personal coffee, that is for someone in particular or a free one for anybody.

“Virmenka" coffeeshop in Lviv
Renovated “Virmenka”

By the way, here they make coffee in the traditional Eastern way, in the cezve, which dances on the hot sand. To get it, you often have to queue.

In Lviv, everyone can find a coffee shop to their taste.  Of course, it is difficult to choose among such an enormous diversity. And you have to do it yourself, relying on your taste and trusting only your eyes and nose. And only you can know where they will lead you, but it is a fact that there are a lot of worthy places to choose from. There are not just a lot of coffee shops, there are even too many. And any “TOP 5 “or” TOP 10” is subjective, that’s why they’re not here. You can list them yourself and write comments. In addition to tasty coffee, we offer you a delicious Lviv cuisine. If you have not yet decided on your coffee preferences or want to try new ones, love coffee and are ready to discover coffee Lviv or see it in a new way, we invite you to visit the best coffee shops in Lviv and enjoy real Lviv coffee during the excursions “Old Lviv in 1 Day” and “Lviv on Foot“.

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