The morning coffee served with breakfast (two rohlíky, pad of butter, jam or honey) on the ward is called ‘white coffee’ – I’m having one now as a matter of fact! It’s not bad, but it’s very weak and doesn’t really do the trick. The process for getting a much stronger ‘Turkish coffee’ (where they pour boiling water directly on the grounds and then you wait about 20 minutes for them for them to settle and inevitably have a mouth full of coarse coffee grounds after) is not really worth the effort (took me over an hour) and for some reason you can’t get it for breakfast.
I was then informed that there was an ‘automat’ downstairs for next time:
So the following day, I went downstairs, and to my surprise, the ‘automat’ was offering 12, that’s right, 12, different kinds of instant coffees, plus soup. From ‘latte macchiato’ to the ‘grand expresso s mlékem’ (my personal favorite and actually the only one I’ve tried – it’s supposed to be a ritual after all). Instant Starbucks (which we finally got here in Prague last week) in a box.
The manner of extracting coffee from this contraption is counter-intuitive to say the least. You need to select your selection to find out the price, but absolutely everything is a single price of 12 crowns, so that seems a rather unnecessary step. You then have to put your money in the adjacent candy machine, which is not actually connected to the coffee machine – they’re not even touching each other.
You then return to the coffee machine and have a random amount of seconds to lower or increase the desired sugar level (default is level three out of five, my preference is zero), before reselecting your coffee, waiting for the little plastic cup to drop (hopefully straight down) and start pouring. Any owed change is eventually returned via the candy machine after the coffee is ready. And then it’s off with my coffee for the morning smoke, just a few feet away.