Say hello to No Sugar, a new cafe in Vilnius, Lithuania, that's taking its cue from boutique cafes around the world. “A person can enjoy a coffee at Blue Bottle in New York, or Workshop in London, or The Barn in Berlin,” says No Sugar consultant and 2012 Lithuania Barista Champion Mindaugas Ryškus, “our goal is that that person can board a plane to Vilnius, arrive at No Sugar, and have an equally rich coffee experience.”
No Sugar opened up in the first week of October and makes filter coffee with V60s and Aeropresses and will brew espresso with a La Marzocco Strada EP. The cafe owners, Antanas Gumauskas and Mantas Jauniškis, spent ten years in Berlin, and according to Mindaugas, soaked up the coffee culture. Gumauskas and Jauniskis enlisted Mindaugas to curate the coffee program, “You won’t find oversized cups. You won’t see merchandising. You won’t hear the sounds of people eating. What you will find is coffee without distractions.”
International coffee enthusiasts will be familiar with the cafe's offerings of Flat Whites and medium-roast single-origin organic heirloom Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. The cafe also holds weekly cuppings, a first for the Vilnius coffee scene. The bar is headed up by lead barista and third place 2013 Lithuanian barista champion Viktorija Kuktorovaitė, along with relative newcomer Tomas Bilevičius. Mindaugas hired the two baristas (he was Viktorija's competition coach in 2013) and trained them – as apart of the work he provides with King Coffee Service, the sole distributor of La Marzocco machines in the Baltics.
“You can find a few places [in Vilnius] that serve V60s, really only the few, and Aeropresses are even more rare,” says Mindaugas. The cafe uses Estonian roasters Gourmet Coffee in Tallin. Mindaugas hints at the possibility of in-house roasting in the future.
We asked Mindaugas if Lithuanians were catching on to No Sugar's unfamiliar model. “People are looking for No Sugar, taking about it, and everyday we see growing number of customers,” Mindaugas tells us, “We are happy, that every single customer is happy about the coffee, they are coming back with a friends. People are interested to join and participate in cuppings, and learn as much as possible. Everything, everything about the coffee.”
“Yes, Lithuanians mostly drink and like milky coffees and syrups as well. But someone has to be the first to make some changes.”
Photography by Agne Raguckaite.