Yvette Barnes (Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Yvette Barnes (Bosnian Family - BOSFAM): Yvette earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from San Jose State University in San Jose, California. From 2002 to 2004, Yvette worked as a business development volunteer in Nepal where she trained a Nepali NGO on micro-enterprise development and micro-credit. After returning to the United States, Yvette worked as a project coordinator for a construction firm in Northern California. At the time of her fellowship she was pursuing a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. concentrating in International Development.


10 Jun

I always knew that Europe was crazy about their coffee and Bosnia is no exception. Bosnian coffee (Kaff-a) is a lot like Turkish coffee, which is strong, unfiltered, sludgy and rarely taken with milk. No one ever told me this and so upon drinking my first cup I got to the black bottom and got a mouthful of sludge, a nasty surprise that resembled drinking a mouthful of sand.

Coffee in BiH is the ubiquitous symbol of bonding; it’s like tea in England or chia in Nepal. Between Bosnians, nothing gets said or done unless it is over a cup of coffee. Of course in one sitting you may have as much as two or three cups refilled consistently by the host.

The small cup size has been a saving grace to the prevention of my caffeine overdose. I drink coffee all day here, and at this point, even though it is only four in the afternoon, I have completely lost count although I’m guessing the coffee count is around 8 cups so far.

The entire process of drinking the coffee in Bosnia is steeped in tradition and etiquette. The Bosnians love to dip their sugar cubes in the coffee and then pop it in their mouth, while sipping the coffee. This practice ensures sweetness to every sip as opposed to losing your sugar to the sludge in the bottom.

Once finished I have seen the women here read their fortune in the grinds. They take the finished coffee cup, flip it and several seconds later lift to read their future. I’m actually very curious to have my fortune read in the coffee cup I drink, but have yet to ask.

Posted By Yvette Barnes (Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Posted Jun 10th, 2006

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