Drinks Popular in
Whatever you have heard about this nation tea is the everyday drink in Poland,
while coffee gives stimulus and sipping it in company often has
social function. The country abounds in quality mineral waters,
and its excellent fruit crops produce tasty juices. Milk is
generally thought the kid’s stuff but homely sour milk and its
processed equivalent, kefir, are quite common refreshers. Polish vodka
remains the traditional booze, yet beer has recently become even more
A typical Pole drinks a glass of black tea for breakfast,
lunch, dinner, supper, and in between as well. His “herbata”
is usually pretty weak, with sugar and often a slice of
lemon, rarely milk (tea with milk is considered good for
lactating mothers). And on frosty days hot tea with
admixture of rum or strong vodka can warm him up in a flash.
Also herbal teas–i.e. various blends of dried leaves,
blossoms, and berries – are prized either for their taste or
healthy properties, or both.
Most Poles seem hooked on strong coffee and they cannot carry on
without a cup a day, or two or more. Many still brew it the
Polish way by putting a spoonful or two of ground coffee into a
glass and filling the vessel up with boiling water. Some do so
even in Krakow though it is held rather barbarian in the city
enamored of espresso. In its penchant for good coffee Krakow
resembles Vienna, close both geographically and historically,
and it may well rival the Austrian capital in the saturation
with coffee houses (called kawiarnia in Poland), some century-old and museum-like, some brand-new and
trendy. They are to the residents of this city what pubs are to
Londoners and diners to New Yorkers. In Krakow a meeting over a
cup of coffee is the most popular social occasion. It usually
entails at least an hour-long chat, argument, or negotiations,
be it between fresh acquaintances, old friends, lovers, enemies
or business partners.
Soft Drinks in Krakow
Poland’s youngsters – but hardly any adults – have proved a captive
market to divers brands of both American cola giants.
Conversely, the French mineral waters, though widely available,
are no competition to their cheaper Polish counterparts of
established reputation, notably those produced in well-known spa
resorts. At the same time there is fierce rivalry between the
country’s makers of fruit juices (orange and grapefruit are based
on imported extracts but try such domestic specialties as apple
or black currant). Lastly, do not drink tap water when in Poland
unless you must: it is safe yet hardly palatable.
Poland has long been part of the “vodka belt”,
i.e. the crescent of north European countries from Russia to
Norway where hard drinking looked like a part of everyday life.
Actually, Russians adopted their beloved liquor from the Polish
neighbors. Polish “wodka” (pronounced “voodkah”) is
rather strong, with 40-45 percent alcohol content. It should be
served straight, chilled but no ice, and swallowed at one gulp.
Unlike the Russian ones, the Polish vodkas come in great
variety. In addition to the most popular “czysta wodka”
(i.e. absolute vodka) – cheaper brands distilled from potatoes and
finer ones from rye – there are many time-honored flavors to
choose from, such as juniper, nut, pepper, plum, cherry, caraway
seed, etc. Like wines, they can be dry, half-dry, half-sweet and
The traditional Polish “nalewka” (pronounced “nalevkah”)
infusions of herbs, berries or fruits steeped in vodka are yet
another story. Some Krakow restaurateurs boasts its own “nalewkas”
whose recipes he guards as family secrets.
Wine in Krakow
Up to the mid 19th century respectable Poles disdained vodka as
plebeian booze and their hard liquor of choice was either
imported wine or domestic mead made of fermented honey. Nowadays
the latter remains a local curio whereas a wide selection of
wines from all over the world is available in Krakow shops. Yet
some pricey vintages may be hard to come by as most local
customers opt for cheaper Italian and Spanish imports as well as
Bulgarian, Hungarian and Romanian ones.
Beer has been brewed in Krakow for the last thousand years and
now it is the most popular alcoholic beverage again
(nonalcoholic beers are common in Poland yet hardly popular).
Present-day Polish beers mostly resemble German lager.
Foreigners loyal to their favorite liquor will find all
international brands of alcohol in Krakow’s shops and bars.
Krakow is Poland’s mecca of gourmets thanks to its
many excellent restaurants.
There is no shortage of places to drink, eat, and stay
merry late into the night in Krakow.
what, and why a coffee addict may drink.
Eating the Krakow Way
It is hearty indeed.
Smoking in Krakow
Shopping in Krakow