"What kind of coffee do you have?"
"Well, black, or with milk," comes the grumpy reply.
This is the delightfully retro Bambi bar, where the interior and the grumpiness of the service haven't changed for 50 years. Nor has the coffee - a drink that's always played a central role in Budapest life. Through the communist years those shots of dark, bitter coffee in small glasses, served by scowling waitresses, were a staple start to the day.
While coffee's importance hasn't changed, a new wave of coffee bars - where competitive baristas know their ristretto from their cortado - is shaking up the scene. The buzz word is "kezmuves" - it roughly translates as handmade, or craft. There are three keys to the new craft coffee bars - talented staff (with the certificates to prove it), slick design and carefully chosen ingredients.
"In new wave coffee you discover the real qualities of the coffee beans, like the fruity, citric qualities of African beans or the chocolate of Brazilian beans," says Peter Repka, manager of the Madal craft coffee bar.
Despite the interest in new wave, both old- and new-style coffee houses compete to deliver Budapest its caffeine kicks.
CNN Travel's Destination Hungary has some of the best. See the full list.