This café nearby Prague riverside Náplavka is a proof that invention can flourish even on a few square meters. In this case, it conjured up a beautiful interior on a very limited area, where you won´t feel cramped. On the contrary! Thanks to its large windows, I Need Coffee! café is light and airy as if the interior naturally extended outdoors. The impression of permeability is enhanced by an interesting way of seating guests around the room facing the windows. That way the customers observe surroundings of Karlovo and Palacký squares coming into life while sipping their morning coffee.

I Need Coffee! has brought to Prague a bit of developed coffee culture of northern countries like Denmark, that is a trend-setter in the interior design field for the rest of the world as well. The dominant feature of the café is an elegant Italian coffee machine Faema, which in perfect harmony with experienced staff produces daily liters of delicious coffee in all way from classic espresso to latte with velvet foam.

The owner of the café Lucie Trnková knows very well that demanding clientele needs not only good coffee, but have a bite of something sweet too. There are delicious chocolate brownies always on offer and if you are lucky, you will taste the best ‘kremrole’ (traditional éclair-like pastry) in Prague.

Your café has been attracting  more and more customers. Do you ever struggle with lack of room?
I do, but this is the way I wanted it. I like the space and I think it’s just about suitable for a beginner. In addition, you get to know who is who pretty well. Some people can easily make space for others without anyone having to tell them to, others don’t even think about it. You might call it school of tolerance.

One of the dominants of the space is a beautiful old coffee machine from Italy. Does it serve rather as a design feature, or is it something that helps make your coffee famous as well?
Faema E61 is significant because of its technical innovations it was constructed with in 1961 and those have influenced manufacture of other coffee machines ever since. Our machine has a tag with the date of production 17.3. 1967. Of course I had loved what it looked like and when I was looking for it online, I came across an ad offering this beauty I have. As for coffee, it is a bit ambiguous. I like the simple mechanic principle with no electronics, where the careful manipulation of a barista is extremely important. On the other hand, it doesn’t make the preparation of coffee for us any easier, as the entire setting has to be done manually, often with the assistance of a technician. Anyway, during the two years the café has been open, I think we’ve managed to tune it up and we are not afraid of dismantling it ourselves from time to time. Sometimes I think it was designed for women - it is round, logic, we like working with it.

The concept of the interior states your name and the result seems like the work of a professional architect. Have you had any prior experience dealing with interior design?
I have quite a few friends who are architects. That’s a great thing which happened to me during my short studies of clothing design at VŠUP. I dedicated around 10 years working at fashion brand Leeda, which I co - established, until I realized that I was making too many compromises and eventually it stopped making sense. So I dusted off an old vision of a café and immersed myself in it. I confess it was great therapy, a large portion of freedom that I had needed, where the result depended just on me. Luckily, I completely fell for running of the place too, caring for customers, pampering the employees and great human discoveries among providers of coffee and colleagues from the field, whom I value highly. The interior debut I later successfully defended, I hope, by the reconstruction of the EMA espresso bar, that I did in cooperation with architect Pavel Griz from The Molo Architects.

What is your stance on alternative methods of coffee preparation, as for instance the French press? Is it actually possible to make oneself good coffee at home?
I’m in love with aeropress. Totally. For me it is definitely the best and simplest way to prepare coffee. Great at home, on travels, everywhere. When you climb mountains with a backpack, you don’t carry around any extra weight, when you heat up water and the wind blows, you can’t control the temperature, when it’s cold, you don’t care about setting the grinder, the water you use is different each time. Only that way you’ll know all the tastes possible from one sack of coffee.

Your café is supplied with sweets from various bakers and food bloggers. How did you discover them?
For example blog Chez Lucie I had found about a year before we opened. I contacted her and during our meeting we talked just about food and sweets. I thought her overall enthusiasm was absolutely awesome and that, by the way, is also evident on her blog. I don’t think I know anyone else with such attitude. Detached view and honesty are indeed rare. So Lucie Dvořáková was the first. Another phenomenon at our place are kremrole. They come from a normal candy shop. I tasted it the first time at the farmer’s market at Dejvice and they were almost boiling, that is how hot it was, but they tasted amazing. The supplies are a little hard to rely on, we’ve wanted to change them several times, but there is not a place that has better kremrole and our customers love them. Currently, after a year of tuning, we’re starting to co-operate with a talented ice-cream maker of Tři kopečky. Her fantasy of flavours is infinite. The way I found her was just long searching, testing and waiting. It is worth it.

It is sometimes also you who prepares coffee behind the bar. Do you consider it a duty or is it what you enjoy about your work?
I really love this kind of work. It is important to me. I learn to  know what the customers want, and thanks to that, I know what to request from my employees. A lot things I can’t budge with for days get miraculously solved during the shift. Also I Need Coffee! has, regardless of a few dramatic exceptions, incomprehensibly stable atmosphere, which is good. As soon as I walk in, I feel better.

(Lucie Trnková, I Need Cofee! owner)

Contact Opening hours
+420 777 446 022
Monday - Friday: 08:00 - 20:00
Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00

Spud. is an unconventional Prague city guide, that highlights its interesting spots and local businesses that are really worth visiting. With a Polaroid camera, we’re mapping four different areas: food and drinks, shops, workplaces of creative people and architecture. Spud. is focused on fresh places with unique atmosphere, cafés with the best coffee, shops with the finest goods, workshops and studios of the most skilled designers and architectural attractions with the greatest charm. Spud. is also mainly about people, who stand behind these projects. Without their invention and courage to fulfill their dreams Prague would be a much poorer place. That’s why we’re so grateful to all of them!
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