Coffee is a ubiquitous part of the country’s culture. It is a part of every Bosnian day — often several parts.
It is a sign of hospitality and of friendship. When you meet a new friend, you will inevitably be asked out for coffee; if you are making a new business connection, you will be served coffee at meetings or asked to go to one of their favorite cafés.
Many Bosnians will have four or more cups of the stuff a day, slowly savored with friends.
Coffee is a hugely important part of Bosnian culture, and you simply will not fit in if you don’t partake in this way of life.
The traditional drink is bosanska kafa, a thick, bitter drink served black or with milk, with coffee grounds in the bottom.
It’s similar to Turkish coffee. Don’t feel obliged to order this if you find it too strong for your tastes: espresso, cappuccino, Nescafé (often known just as “Nes”), tea, and fruit juice are all available in most cafés.
Coffee is served in much smaller portions than in America, so order a velika (large) if you want a portion resembling what you’re used to at home.
If you are offered coffee in someone’s house or office, always accept it — it is impolite to refuse.
How to Drink Bosnian Coffee
Understanding the proper steps to drinking traditional Bosnian coffee will make the experience a lot simpler (and tastier).
The coffee will be served on a metal tray, with a coffeepot, a small cup, and a glass of water.
If you order it sa mlijekom (with milk), there will be a small cup of milk on the tray as well.
There will generally be several lumps of sugar on the tray, and perhaps a piece of rahatlokum, similar to Turkish delight.
To begin, pick up the spoon and stir the top of the coffee in the coffeepot until it changes to a light brown color.
Only then should you pour it slowly into your cup. You have several options at this point.
You can drop in a lump or two of sugar, add milk, or simply drink it straight.
Bosnians generally put the sugar cube on a spoon, dip it into the coffee, and eat it.
If the cup is resting in a copper holder, leave this on the table — simply lift the porcelain cup out of the holder.
Drink slowly. It’s strong stuff, and you’re supposed to linger over your cup.
When you finish, there is generally enough in the pot to pour another half cup or so.
Be careful when pouring a second cup, as the bottom of the coffeepot will be full of coffee grounds. Enjoy!
Source: Bosnia Herzegovina - Culture Smart: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture Book