Zumreta born 1967, Prijedor. Zumreta remembers that coffee helped to mark changes in time: work time, social time. Her favorite coffee drinking partner was the neighbor across the hall, Bisera. They had coffee together every day at 5PM.
“So my roommate who shared the apartment with me would test is. That was a big deal. A big project.”
Adela: Tell me if you had someone, a friend or a family member with whom you enjoyed drinking coffee the most.
Zumreta: I did. I like to drink it with our neighbor across the hall the best. We had coffee at 5.
Hatidza: With Bisera?
Zumreta: That was really something special, at five, after work….
Adela: So what did you talk about most?
Zumreta: There were no special conversations, but, um, it was more about the time, it was just…Although those people were older, but there was some special magic.
Rasima born 1934, Prijedor (Stari Majdan). Rasima remembers that her father ran a coffee house in her village. At the time, public coffee houses were reserved for men, who stopped for their coffee on their way home from the mines. Women more often drank sweet beverages, like lemonade. During her wedding reception, her mother-in-law requested that Rasima make sweet lemonade / šerbe and she didn’t know how and was a bit embarrassed, but her husband’s sister rescued her, and made the lemonade for Rasima.
“You call it cejf, you know? Like, pleasure…if they have time, they’re sitting, sitting over that coffee, sip a little bit…”
Rasima: Aha. That [coffee drinking] wasn’t so prevalent where we lived. Smokers, yes, they liked coffee. But where we lived it wasn’t, I don’t know…I wouldn’t drink coffee even when I’d make children’s breakfast in the morning, for instance. Whatever beverage I’d make for the children, I’d have that same drink, either tea, or, I don’t know, we were brewing all kinds of beverages back then, out of cereal, I don’t know…But this real coffee of ours, that was, uh, before the war [WWII] back then, all the women would count those…
Rasima: ….how many coffee beans they’ll [women] grind, grind with those grinders. Um, coffee was expensive, it wasn’t such a common beverage.
Dzenita: And which one, how did you brew the cereal, was it barley?
Nasiha: There’s, when I was in Sanski Most last year, my sister found some in the store, or they had some, I don’t know, I can’t remember, she just told me that when she was there that she found a cereal beverage, like those we used to have, I think she told me it was a mix of grains, and now I crave it, I wish I could find it somewhere, and drink some. They say it’s so nice.
Dzenita: I remember, I remember that during wartime [1990s wars], because we were in Sarajevo, that barley…
Hatidža remembers the coffees she shared with her friends in the cafeteria at the factory where she worked. She remembers that everyone would have their own say / their own story, “Svak ima svoju priču,” during their coffee breaks. They would talk about family matters and provide support to one another, especially if someone was having problems. Her favorite place to drink coffee in the village was in the yard, and when she was in the city, in her living room.
Mirzet born in Prijedor. Over the years, Mirzet made at least twenty hand grinders for the women in his family. He used remnants of stainless steel piping from the factory he worked at, embellishing the pipe with geometric patterns that gave each grinder a unique appearance, and also made it easier to grip during the task of grinding. His wife’s džezva and handrinder were stolen when they were forced from their homes in Bosnia, so Mirzet’s sister sent one that he had made for her, all the way to Chicago, so that Tidža would have it.