Pod beans, sip coffee, pod more beans, chit chat, sip more coffee, chit chat, coffee, chit chat. This week, I had the real pleasure of staying with this lovely woman, Mira, in the middle of the northern Bosnian countryside. We got up early, the air still cool and fresh and we sat down with a cup of coffee to prepare lunch. It’s harvest season and so she has the long task of podding and drying beans for the winter. But today we took it easy, podding just a good handful to throw into the stock pot – the prelude to a good bean soup (it really was good).
The coffee, as with all Bosnian coffee, is strong and grainy. A thick layer of grit remains at the bottom of the cup. I’m offered more. I’m still struggling to finish the last one.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is, I discover, all about the coffee; a ritual that I’ve woken up to most mornings. Every Bosnian has a precisely different method to getting it just right, but I think it goes something like this: bring water to the boil in the džezva (that’s the red coffee pot in the picture), set aside some of the boiling water in your coffee cup, return the džezva to the stove, gently stir in ground coffee, heat until gently frothing, add the reserved boiling water (very important!), then serve. It is precisely this method that makes it different to Turkish coffee, which I am told is completely different.
It’s all down to the ritual.