I remember when I used to be a student in Cluj and there were no places where you could get a really good coffee (apart from Starbucks, but that’s too standard). Now the place is packed with loads of great coffee shops and it feels like the whole city centre smells of good coffee. I don’t live in Cluj anymore but I go there quite a lot and as a self-declared coffee junkie I like to try them all. So far this is my top 3 coffee places in Cluj (this doesn’t mean there aren’t any other good places, I just haven’t got round to try them yet).
Fresh to go
This one is my personal favourite so far. It’s a really small place but with amazing coffee and a personal feel. It reminds me of my local coffee shop in London. You go in, you have a chat, you get great coffee and it sets your mood for the day. Even though it’s good for people watching as it’s located in the heart of Hasdeu (the main student area), I’d say it’s more of a place where you buy your coffee to go from, as the name suggests. As much as I love sitting down and nattering on and on over a good cup of coffee, Victor. Fresh to go is my favourite because of how good their coffee is. Oh, one thing that doesn’t really bother me but might be a slight issue for others is that they don’t sell decaf.
Here are some pictures of the place. I had to ‘steal’ them from their Facebook page (I hope they don’t mind) because I was so excited about the coffee, I forgot to take some.
Meron – home of coffee
Meron has more of a chain-type coffee shop feel to it, but I don’t see that as a bad thing at all. Every city needs a Meron in my opinion. The coffee is great and they have all sorts of funky types like the Snickers one. I can’t remember the exact name, but it’s like Heaven in your mouth. It’s the type of place where you go with your Mac and do your freelance work. Yes, my dear hipsters, this is the place for you. Again, for some reason they don’t do decaf.
As far as I know and correct me if I’m wrong, Olivo was one of the first places to bring proper coffee to Cluj. I heard of them long before I went there because everyone was raving on about how great the coffee is. And it is. It’s more than a coffee shop though as you can eat and they serve alcohol there as well, but as far as I know they got famous for their coffee. I would say it’s a great place to go on a Sunday with your family, little ones included. Also, another brownie point from my side – before the smoking ban was enforced in Romania they had already made the decision to be a smoke free place, which I love. Well done Olivo. The location is great as it’s just on Eroilor boulevard, bang on in the centre of Cluj. It’s always nicely packed, and for a good reason. Oh yeah, they do serve decaf and the design of their to-go cups is awesome.