The moody black and white photography beautifully evokes both classical and modern takes on a diverse coffee culture that has survived wars, dictatorships, economic hardships and even the march of the smartphone. As a celebration of this supreme setting for connecting with other humans and restoring a sense of the social, ‘Balkan Caffeination’ takes us to a part of the coffee-worshipping world that to many readers will be stranger and more exotic than Namibia or Nepal. My only complaint? I wish the book was twice as long.
In Serbia, social visits are determined by the ‘three coffee rule’. The first cup offers a welcome, the second cup means settle down for a long chat, and the third means ‘time to go’. You are a special friend if you are asked to stay after three cups. I can only say that ‘Balkan Caffeination’ – quirky, revealing and inspiring about human nature – qualifies as a charming companion, one that definitely merits at least a fourth cup!