Kawa – Coffee

Kawa is the Polish for coffee & the word comes from the Turkish kahveh and earlier the Arabic qahwah.

The Coffea plant grows as a bush with fragrant white flowers and the fruits are red berries (related to cherries and plums) – the botanical name for these are drupes  – fruits contain a single seed known often as a stone – so they are not beans in the botanical sense at all.

Short History of Coffee

Legend has it that in the 9th century a goat-herder  noticed that his goats were more lively after eating the leaves and berries of the Coffea bush

Coffee was known in Ethiopia in the 11th century and then it was the leaves that were boiled and drunk  and they were thought to have medicinal powers.

Coffee is recorded in the Yemen in the mid -14th century.

By 1555 coffee is known in Istanbul and it is now the beans which are roasted and ground and heated with water – hence Turkish coffee.

Coffee came to Europe first through Venice with the first recorded coffee shop being in 1645.

In 1683 after the victory by the Polish King Jan Sobieski III(1629 – 1696) against the Turks in Vienna, many sacks of coffee were left behind. One of his Polish officers,  Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki,  received these sacks of coffee beans.   He opened one of the first coffee houses in Vienna serving small cups of Turkish coffee.

Coffee arrived in America not long after this in the late 17th century.

Coffee became popular in Poland in the 18th Century.  The first coffee café (kawiarnia) was opened in Warsaw in 1724.

Coffee in Poland

Coffee in Poland is served as strong black coffee – coffee without milk or cream.

It is known as Kawa parzona  which means coffee scalded!

The tradition way is to make coffee in a tall glass with a large tablespoon of ground coffee put in the bottom of the glass and hot boiled water poured onto this and this is left for about 3-4 minutes and then the top is stirred.

When you drink the coffee you do not drink down to the bottom, the sediment – the grounds or  the lees  & in Polish – fusy – are left.

I often make myself a coffee this way – it is quick and you only need 1 tablespoonful.


I collect the used coffee ground from this and other methods and use them as top dressing around my strawberry plants & Hostas- many think this is a deterrent to snails.




I have an uncle in Białystok who loves coffee and when I was there he showed me various different ways of making coffee; as he used to work in the Middle East we made Turkish coffee several times.

There are many methods of making coffee often with electrical equipment.

The method I use the most is with a  Cafetière or French Press. I think it is the nearest to the old Polish method but the grounds are separated from the coffee in an easy way.


Both the French & the Italians lay claim to inventing the Cafetière.  A method of making coffee using a plunger was known in France from the 1850s but a patent was issued in the 1920s to an Italian from Milan.


Coffee making equipment

Including: a coffee grinder (a present from my friend in The Netherlands), a Hornsea pottery coffee container, an old and a new  cezve or ibrik (Turkish coffee maker) and a pyroflam coffee maker jug from The Netherlands.


Assorted Coffee makers including stove top espresso makers

Coffee Pots

An assortment of coffee pots including:

  • Royal Doulton  – Regalia – 1988 – 1997
  • Royal Tuscan – Samoa – 1960 – 1967
  • Myott – China Lyke – Majorca
  • Studio Meakin – Topic – 1967
  • Empire Porcelain Minou
  • Rörstrand (Sweden) – Amanda by Christina Campbell 1968 – 1977

and some coffee cups – Royal Adderley – Masquerade – 1960s  & Portmeirion – Tivoli designed by Susan Williams Ellis

Coffee Cups & Saucers

Elizabethan – Greensleeves  &

Royal Doulton –  Sonnet – 1971 – 1998



Greenway Hostess – Design by John Russell – 1960 – 1979  &

Elizabethan – Lace – 1960 – 1979


Wedgwood – Susie Cooper design – 1950s – Flower motif series B  &

Elizabethan – Carnaby 1970s





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I love cooking and baking. I love trying out new recipes and currently am trying out many old favourites from my Polish cookbooks and family recipes. I am trying out many variations, often to make them easier but still delicious. I collect glass cake stands and china tableware, mainly tea plates, jugs and serving dishes, many of which I use on a daily basis. They are an eclectic mixture from the 20th & 21st century.

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