In Sydney, a daily cafe trip was my little ritual. Sometimes solo where I could linger with a latte or a chai. Other times with company, small children underfoot, snippets of conversation and cold coffee. On my office days it was a quick takeaway as I passed by. Even then, listening to the sounds of the barista at work and the gentle chatter around me while I waited was enough to lull me from hectic school run mum mode into something calmer.
The Norwegian shares my cafe love and weekend plans usually involve a coffee related destination. When we moved to Zurich, we would gaze out of the window on a Sunday as we pondered what to do with the day. We could go for a hike, that’s what the rest of the country was doing, but our heart wasn’t really in it. We needed a coffee to liven us up. The research began. It turns out there were some great little cafes waiting to be discovered.
I now have a selection of places to visit that are nicely scattered so that wherever I am in the city I’m never far from one of my favourites. Here they are:
I will always have a soft spot for Grande, my first good Zurich coffee. You can of course get coffee in Zurich, but often it’s not great. I was spoiled in Sydney and now I’m a bit fussy. It was the Norwegian who discovered Grande. In the early days before we had a place to call home, he came in one day proudly declaring that he had found a good coffee! The following day I went off to check it out for myself …
After weeks of cafe withdrawal I could feel something realigning within me as I sat back in my chair and took in my new surroundings. The cool, cosy ambience inside, and the Limmat River on the outside. Sometimes you can just tell when a coffee is going to be good, and I wasn’t disappointed when my cortado appeared.
A cortado here will get you a Sydney latte. Grande may be my favourite cafe, but the coffee at Noir is amazing. I always end up ordering a second. Window shopping in the cute shops on Josefstrasse along the way is also a bonus.
Bovelli opened last year and comes from the same family as Grande. The cafe isn’t as cosy, but it’s in a great central location.
It was an exciting day when we went to Milchbar at Paradeplatz for the first time. I took so many photos that day – the cool interior, the courtyard, the coffee, the cakes … Cafe heaven for me.
Babu’s Bakery & Coffeehouse
Babu’s has the bustling cafe vibe that I miss from Sydney. It’s not just me though, the kids miss it too. They also came along on our cafe expeditions and learned to appreciate the experience from an early age. When they were old enough to protest about being stuck in a high chair, a babyccino became part of our cafe language.
Wednesday afternoon means no school for children in Zurich and we’ll often go to Babu’s. Somehow we usually manage to get a table, and we can spend hours chatting away, with hot chocolates, cake, and a cappuccino for me. It’s usually on this sort of afternoon that I’ll get to hear their stories that can otherwise get forgotten to be told on a normal day.