But coffee first!
Coffee, originally referred to as black soup, was brought to Hungary by the Turks, but as a wine-drinking nation, we obviously found it disgusting, so we successfully resisted its temptation for decades.
The first café in Budapest was opened in 1714 by a Serbian merchant. After a decade and a half, not only Serbian, but also German and Italian cafés competed with each other for the favours of coffee consumers in Pest and the audience of gentlemen in general. Although café history writing putswriters, poets and artists at the forefront, in reality a much broader class was present. The main audience of the cafés in Pest-Buda was the bourgeois middle class, especially men, but it was not uncommon for the men to be accompanied by their wives. From the beginning of the 19th century, ladies’ halls were established, and in some cafés, designated ladies’ hours were announced.
The heyday of the classic Budapest cafés was during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. During this period, the number of cafés in the capital increased 166 times. To go to the café became a habit, and cafés were the primary venue for a social life. Budapest was rightly called the “city of cafés”, as there was no secluded street in Pest where there would be no café. The cafés understood coffee and tea at a very high level, and hundreds of local and international newspapers and magazines were regularly available there.
After the communist takeover, the local café culture also started to decline. Coffee was a kind of luxury in the years of state socialism, and its quality was inferior to that of mass production.
The Living Room at our Gastronomic Quarter Downtown Budapest is a reimagination of the famous coffeehouse culture for the 21st century. It is very much inspired by great coffee, fine teas, a cake selection, a traditional afternoon tea, but also by a modern twist with champagne. It is the living room for Budapest and for those who love Budapest. An urban oasis in the middle of our bustling ground floor where guests can relax in style. A place for meeting, socialising, evoking childhood memories, European and Budapester flair alike.
Nowadays, the elegant cafés have been replaced by tiny places. Instead of the maitre’, we get coffee from baristas, and instead of porcelain, we get coffee in a recyclable paper cup, and sugar and cream are slowly being displaced by oat and almond milk.
However, there is much more behind this new wave, also known as speciality cafés. Only high-quality coffee and varieties – the aroma and flavour of which are tuned to the most perfect possible – will be poured into our glass as a quasi-artisanal product. No wonder this high level of attention and skill has gained immense popularity in a short time, and a very special subculture has been born that focuses on coffee.
The speciality coffee of ÉS Deli in Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest, selected and roasted by the renowned, internationally recognised coffee expert Máté Nezvál, fits into this trend.
The ÉS Deli blend is a 50-50% blend of fresh flavoured and lightly roasted coffee blends, a Rwandan (Cyebumba) and a Guatemalan (Finca Santa Paula) coffee. The subspecies of arabica Bourbon and Caturra are grown at an altitude of 1,477–1,700 m. In both places of origin, great attention is paid to the live relationship with farmers in order to guarantee quality on an ongoing basis, and Finca Santa Paula in Guatemala is a 100%-sustainable property. On the farms, coffee beans undergo a washed-and-sundried process and several roasting profiles, and the cherry and blackberry acids are balanced by notes of ripe pear and sweet chocolate.
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Be sure to head back to our Destination page to discover more of what to see and do in Budapest. Of course, our Clefs d'Or Member concierges and our entire staff at Kempinski Hotel Corvinus will be more than happy to assist in any way they can during your stay too.
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