Most visitors to Cyprus come for the Mediterranean island’s sunny weather and immaculate beaches. Nicosia, the country’s landlocked capital, rarely even gets so much as a stopover. With the international airport in Larnaca, most tourists have no incentive to make the trek to Cyprus’s largest city. But those who travel inland will find a bustling coffee scene well worth skipping a beach day. These were four of our favorite place to have coffee in Nicosia.
A Kxoffee Project
A beautiful bar. Lots of greenery. A coffee roaster in the corner. A Kxoffee Project is exactly the sort of off-the-radar coffee shop we love to discover. The café is clearly a hub for Nicosia’s creative class– spacious, hip, and laptop friendly. More importantly, the coffee is good. Actually, the coffee is really good. We usually have low expectations when trying a new roaster, but the bag of Burundi, Buziraguhindwa natural process we bought proved to be the best coffee we’ve brewed in several months. Ripe red fruits and tons of sweetness– it’s a natural process that will convert those natural process haters out there.
Brew Lab might have a ubiquitous name, but the café offers a far from ubiquitous café experience. Brew Lab is the exclusive distributor of Taf Coffee in Cyprus, so expect single origin microlots from the esteemed Athens roaster. With multiple single origin options on espresso and friendly baristas, Brew Lab is a must-stop on any Nicosia café crawl.
Menta Specialty Coffee Shop
I’ve always thought the best way to do a multiroaster café is to work with two roasters: one local to support the community, one from further afield to give your customers something a little more exotic. That’s the formula perfectly executed at Menta Specialty CoffeeShop. Legacy Cypriot roasters Samba Café provides the house espresso, with an alternative espresso option from London’s Square Mile Coffee, both prepared with Menta’s Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine.
Nicosia is the world’s only divided capital, with the northern portion of the city under the control of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a defacto state recognized only by Turkey. The Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus is a highly controversial subject on both parts of the island, but passing through the UN-patrolled neutral zone is a relatively simple process so long as you have your passport. Walking those 20 odd meters, the currency switches from Euros to Lira, the language from Greek to Turkish, but I found both sides of the island have more in common than the long standing conflict might lead you to believe.
On the Turkish side of Nicosia you’ll find Ovis Coffees, which features some of Nicosia’s most fascinating café design. The striking circular bar is situated in the center of the room. The concrete and wooden interior feels very contemporary- and bountiful electric sockets are a delight for travelers with devices with low batteries. A variety of single serve brew methods are available in Ovis’s “Third Wave Corner,” but we opted for an ice latte and a window seat with a view of the Venetian column, which dates to the 1500s.