Our Favourite Coffee Stops – Lumos Cafe in Sibiu

Lumos Coffee & BrunchGreat Cafe's

Favourite Coffee Stops: Lumos, Sibiu

by Robert Thorpe

I like coffee, I really do.I owe it so much over the years. At work in a previous career, it sustained me at times of great weariness, and when I’m writing it comforts me when I need a break from the mental torment of fitting words together on a page, so that they make sense. These days, for health reasons, I drink decaf and take oat milk. It still tastes sublime though, and despite knowing that I shouldn’t drink too much, it’s a comforter I can’t give up.

Along with great coffee, I like food. It’s not simply a case of putting necessary energy and building blocks into my aging body as I exercise. I, like anyone who admits it, loves the taste of great food, and I love combining a coffee – or a hot chocolate – with a tasty meal in a chilled out cafe. As cyclists too, it’s a rite of passage to be shown the best cafe stops. My old friend – God bless his soul – Ben Ralston, wouldn’t let me eat cake until we’d finished a hard ride; and, Fiona, another close friend and cycling partner, says ‘no climbing no cake!’ And so you see, I know that when I’ve earned a coffee stop, that I have to make the most of it. Due to this, and being a writer who simply likes to camp out and create words while watching the world go by, from the comfort of a great coffee shop, I’ve compiled an almost encylopediac list of the very best places – and, it’s time to share a few favourites.

Lumos Coffee & Brunch, Sibiu

Okay then, here’s a great place to start with, for many reasons; not least of which is that it sits in the perfect place in probably my favourite small city in the world – the simply magical city of Sibiu, in Transylvania, Romania. This medeival city, also known by it’s historical Germanic name of Hermannstadt, is a World Heritage Site, nestled beneath the sublime mountains of Romania, and with so much history that you’ll never exhaust of visiting.

Tucked quietly away, a few footsteps from Piata Mare (the main square), and close to the quieter and super cool Piata Huet, with it’s neat benches and small trees to shade under, Lumos Coffee is a easy to find and easy to fall in love with. The neo-classical architecture outside is painted in soft colours, and invites you into a large and modern interior, with well-spaced tables and comfortable seating. Outside of the cafe, there’s also ample seating, to take in the warm eastern European sun, and the simply breathtaking sunset that falls across the nearby mountains each day.

When I visit Sibiu, I have a favourite table in Lumos, allowing me to rest on soft leather seating, watch the world go by through the large windows and type away, as I empty my writers mind of a myriad of ideas and words, that always seem to make more sense when I’m here in my favourite city on earth.

Great Teams Create Amazing Atmosphere

In a previous life and career, I once had the surprisingly important title of being a Critical Incident Commander’ – I know, very grand indeed… not. I was basically, like colleagues, the guy whose phone rang when there was a real issue happening. What I learned from working in such a stress-filled environment is that good teams are led by good people, and that the result is a simply amazing atmosphere. Lumos has this is spades, and is a calm oasis of coolness – even on a hot day.

The cafe is led by a person that I’d like to acknowledge as a friend – Mihai. He’s one of the kindest, most warm-hearted and quietly caring people that you can ever meet. On my last trip to Sibiu, when a particular issue was troubling me, and I’d retreated to the comfort of my favourite place, he noticed my demeanour and shared time and coffee with me. Time is the most precious gift that we can give to anyone – and Mihai gives his time to everyone. He is the most generous of souls, and it’s reflected in his warm, polite and talented colleagues, such as Miriam, a who are seemingly so chilled and happy at work and always willing to share intelligent conversation with a confusing writer, who must at times seem a nuisance to others.

Always Part of the Plan

When  I visit Sibiu, and whatever I’m doing, and whoever I’m with, Lumos is always central to plans. I use it as a base when in town for the annual Sibiu Cycle Tour (UCI 4 day race), and have met global cycling friends here, like my close friend Cherie Pridham, sharing lunch as I introduced her to my favourite cafe in Europe. This summer, when Nadezhda and Larisa were doing a shoot for the DS Pro cycling brand, we used Lumos as a backdrop for some images and as our chosen  refreshment place during breaks. It always fits the bill, because Lumos, Mihai and the team care so much to make sure that it does so for everyone.

There’s a friendly buzz about the cafe, and the food is superb, cooked fresh all the time by their amazing chefs,and it reflects the global visitors that flock to Sibiu, with choices tomatch all tastes and needs, including Vegans and Celiacs. My own favourite meal here is their Roma Toast, with sourdough bread, sun dried tomatoes, gouda, and red onion chutney. I could live on this – finishing off of course with Cake 🙂 – a Lumos dessert is something to behold.

If Heinekin made Cafe’s…

I’ve visited some truly appalling cafes in my time. Ordering  coffee on a few occasions, I’ve genuinely felt like being poisoned, and I’ve had to make an excuse to leave rapidly. I once visited a then newly opened cycling cafe I dare not name, and ordered cappuccino which tasted so bad that if served in Italy, they’d be arrested and locked up!  I travel to Italy as often as finances, family life and time allow, and I love coffee… and food. I must be of Italian heritage from Roman times. After all, their empire did stretch to Hadrians Wall, and maybe I’m the descedant of a Roman legionaire who wooed a northern lady!

Back to coffee and great coffee stops then…Of course I’m not Roman – I’m Romanian 😉 I wish!

There is nothing finer in any urban area, anywhere in the world, than having a special place to retreat to. I love leaving my hotel (usually the Art Hotel in Sibiu), walking around the corner and setting up my ipad for a morning of writing at Lumos, then relaxing over brunch. It’s the best place to meet friends, be they locals or travellers like me, here to make the most of one of the most magical cities in Europe or elsewhere – Sibiu. Yes, I love Sibiu with a deep and abiding love, and I love its people, its history and culture, its cycling – and I love Lumos Cafe.

If Heineken made a cafe – they’d model it on Lumos, with the best people, the best food and the best coffee, and the coolest vibe.

Put Sibiu on Your Bucket List

Forgive my blasphemy, but please Mihai – for the love of God, open a Lumos here in Harrogate too. Yorkshire needs you and I miss watching the world go by from your calm oasis, and I love replenishing my body and soul after a hard ride in the hills of Transylvania, and walking the cobbled streets, with the medeival rooftops looking down on me. If I could, I’d move to Sibiu and buy an apartment looking over the old town, and close by to Piata Huet. I love the people of Sibiu, some of whom I look upon as family. Sibiu is aplace that captures your heart, due to the place, the history and most importantly, the people.

As far of Coffee shops and cafes go, Lumos sets the bar very high indeed, as we start to share our own list of favourite cafes for cyclists with you. I don’t know if it can be matched… but my colleagues and I here at Pedalnorth, will keep exploring and try to find a few more cycling stops to recommend for you. While we do, why don’t you book your own trip to Sibiu, at any time of the year: for cycling, hiking, the international arts festival in summer, or the magical Christmas Fair. Bring your bike and ride the sublime mountains that stand sentinel over Sibiu, and then relax in this quite wonderful cafe and coffee shop!

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