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Zizi Cafe. Calm and cozy in the very heart of Naxxar.

Zizi Cafe is a charming coffee place in Naxxar. We spoke to its owner Joanna about the cafe and the challenges that go into running it!


Coffee is part of our daily lives. For many of us, being caffeinated has become the norm—the basis of our mornings. Coffee is not only about getting a kick and waking up, though. We can go places and enjoy a good cup of coffee, read a book or just soak up the ambience. We meet friends and loved ones over coffee, talk and socialise. That is also a joy, or at least for me, it is.


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

One place that has recently opened in Pjazza Vitorja, Naxxar, just near the Parish Church, is Zizi Cafe. Its location is just off the hustle and bustle of the area in front of the church but close enough to be in the heart of it. The place is also pet friendly, which is something we love as it means Argo can join in the fun!


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

We spoke to Joanna, who runs Zizi Cafe, and we were immediately fascinated by her enthusiasm, as well as her travel stories. Ironically, Joanna only started to drink coffee about 3 years ago. ‘Having lived, travelled and worked in Australia, where there is a massive coffee culture, I started to enjoy the occasional cup of good coffee. I took my first espresso shots while working in a cafe/restaurant in Melbourne’.


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

Joanna also told us how she spent some time in East Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania and visited coffee plantations. All this inevitably meant a growing interest in single-origin coffee beans and different brewing methods. Whilst a latecomer to coffee drinking, Joanna confessed her dream was always to own a small cafe. ‘In the past 8 years, I studied hospitality management and tourism and backpacked for 2.5 years straight. I came back to Malta with plenty of ideas.


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

The interior at Zizi Cafe combines traditional Maltese townhouse stone fabric with a mild continental woody décor. ‘We faced a couple of challenges whilst designing the cafe. The main challenge was using all the space since the cafe was small. We wanted to make enough space for the customers and me to work behind the bar. The bar is quite spacious, and I can now work comfortably in it'.


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

What immediately catches the eye is the delightful floor tiling which characterises the place, as well as the traditional stone arches. ‘I love colours, so terrazzo flooring was the best option. Having the floor and the bottom part of the bar very busy, we decided to keep the rest as simple as possible. The building has a high ceiling with 7 arches which makes the space special’.


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

Joanna told us how her whole family worked on the Zizi Cafe project, which makes everything more special. ‘My brother is an architect and designer Andrea Zerafa, who did a very good job designing the shop. Being also an artist, he came up with really cool ideas.


He designed the shop exactly as I imagined it’. Joanna’s father did all the handy work, electricity, plumbing and wood work. Her sister takes care of Zizi Cafe’s social media, whilst her mother helps with everything else that is needed while she is busy!


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

What we loved about Zizi Cafe is how it seems so calm and cosy. ‘The cafe is made as though you are in your living room. I want customers to feel at home as much as possible. Everybody wants to drink good coffee nowadays. Apart from drinking and eating, a cafe is a place where you can go to relax, meet friends, socialize and work.


Meeting new people while working is the most exciting part of the job. Here I got to meet many different people, all telling others stories all whilst doing what I’m passionate about, being a barista’.


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

Running a cafe is no easy task, and the days are long. Joanna’s day at Zizi Cafe starts by switching on the coffee machine, making coffee and tasting it. ‘I always ensure that the coffee tastes the same and is up to my standards. My working day consists of making coffees, serving croissants and whatever there is to do’. During the day, Joanna tries to take photos and post stories on the cafe’s social media. ‘Social media is very important if you want to attract new clients. Branding and marketing should be modern and strong’.


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

The excellent coffee you will find at Zizi Cafe is roasted in a Sicilian micro-roastery on the slopes of Etna, named Etna Roaster. ‘Together with Sergio (the head roaster), we have structured a unique and personal blend, both in the composition of the origins and in the roasting based on a careful analysis of the local market’.


A quick look at the display, and you will notice Zizi Cafe offers plenty of food options. ‘Preparing the display is also very important; that is the first thing people see when they come in. I cook the pies and make focaccias’. Food is all sourced out. Everything is made fresh and artisan. Croissants and most of the pastries are by Toghma Artisan Bakery. They also make Zizi Cafe’s chocolate biscuits, given out with every hot coffee.


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

Pies are made homemade on a daily rotation made by a chef. ‘All food is homemade and fresh, and ingredients change according to what there is in season. I also have vegan sweets and biscuits raw and healthy. By time hopefully I can have some savoury vegan food as well’. Items on display are made in Malta, including drinks. Overall, whether you are a meat lover, vegetarian or vegan, there are options available.


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

Zizi Cafe is completely plastic free. No plastic goes out of the shop and if possible, none enter. The shop is kept as sustainable as possible. Waste is separated, glass bottles are re-used and used coffee is given away for free for composting and gardening.


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

Joanna’s message to anyone looking to open their own business is simple ‘Just follow your heart and do what you believe in’. For her, the most important thing is to be original and have original ideas. ‘It is not just opening a cafe, you have to do a lot of marketing research and study before opening one. Do not just try and do everything, decide on what you are going to focus on’.


Zizi _ cafe _ Naxxar

She emphasized how in this line of work, coffee and service should always be on point and consistent. ‘If coffee is your main thing on the menu make sure and your staff are the best at making it. Being social, friendly and smiling is what clients look for as well nowadays. Most importantly is to do what you love!’


Have you visited Zizi Cafe? Should it make it to our list of best cafes in Malta? Let us know!

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