Julius Meinl and Bjela Kava

Why can't Des Moines meet Julius Meinl?

A short time ago, I was introduced to the Croatian bjela kava. (pronunciation: beyay-la ka-va)

My God, what a drink. The company Julius Meinl supplied the beans and it's creamy, rich, but light flavor ambushed my mouth with flavors of comfort. It was like the comfort sensations of cornbread, in liquid form. I stared at the waiter thinking What on earth is this coffee juice you serve me?! It's heaven! I needed to know. I gathered up the courage to show my amateur coffee palette cards and asked, in Croatian, exactly what I had thought seconds before. What is this called in English? As the words came out of my mouth I felt a nudge, like the angels of coffee, caffeine, and all things java bean, said Don't do it! Don't ask! And sure enough, I was a little regretful when I finished my question...not because the taste became less great, but because I felt like monster fool and ruined a little bit of the romance behind that phenomenal cup of milk-coffee liquid. Turns out, this was what we call...wait for it...a latte.

Ugh! Anti-climactic, trust, me I get it. You're disappointed too, aren't you? I know.

Since I don't ever order coffees I had no idea. Sure they looked the same, but I also once confused apple juice for peach iced tea. I chugged that peach iced tea, sold the table of eight I was sitting with on it and convinced them to pour themselves a cup, only to hear one person revolt with a snarky This is apple juice! Oops, I said. Tasted better when you thought it was peach iced tea, didn't it?!

Here is my best memory of bjela kava. Captured because I intended to have this photograph blown up and hung in my kitchen as a reminder of the glorious flavor. Take me back there for 2 minutes...would love to order a cup for anyone that joined me for a morning dialogue and breathtaking gaze across the Adriatic.

And I'd like to order up a fried egg too. Over hard with a dash of salt. There is something about breakfast on the coast.

julius meinl
Steph KadlickoComment