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Whether you’re an embracer of change or a stickler for the straight and true, third wave coffee culture has all but taken over much of the western world in recent years. While the old guard in Europe has been slow to accept the modern approach – ever-faithful to Mediterranean habits over single origin roasts and bio milk – young, creative populations in capitals like Berlin are sprouting some truly cutting edge players in the international ‘third wave’ coffee scene. Today, we take a look at the best of the best new school coffee shops in Berlin, roasters and cafes serving up to the bean-loving masses in and around the Deutsch capital: arguably, the modern European home of innovative coffee culture.
Cozied down the far end of leafy, cobbled Reichenberger Strasse in the heart of Kreuzberg 36, Five Elephant has established itself as a Berlin coffee roasting bastion in recent years, and for good reason. As well as being a specialty coffee micro roaster, Five Elephants present a sumptuous bakery and café, while sourcing some of the best coffee in the world in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Enthusiastic in all facets of the brewing process from bean to saucer, Elephant staff share their passion with every customer. The Five Elephant brand also supplies some of the city’s most sought after cafes with their best artisan roasts. (check out the ‘public cupping’ in the Roastery every Friday, 12:00 am – 1:30pm).
Reichenberger Str. 101, 10999 Berlin
Who knew that good coffee comes down to the perfect blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, or that putting sugar in your espresso is tantamount to heresy? You’ll learn all that and more at this neat central hub – located right in the heart of Berlin’s Mitte district, Röststätte is serious about their coffee and appreciate the finer touches. Their adjunct roastery is open to the public with fresh roasts on sale, as well as a showroom that offers a veritable range of cutting edge, gleaming silver coffee machines. You’ll find one of the best cappuccinos in town here, and one of the smoothest, non-acidic espressos I’ve ever had anywhere on earth.
Ackerstraße 173, 10115 Berlin
Self-confessed pioneers in producing highest coffee qualities in Germany, The Barn has been one of the forerunners in specialty coffee roasting in Berlin. It’s an impressive enterprise that forges a close bond between micro-farmer, specialty roaster and coffee shop, bringing the finest caffeine experience from crop to cup to it’s almost religiously dedicated Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg clientele. Scientists as well as savants, The Barn knows their way in, out and around the perfect cup of coffee, and with its multiple locations – cozy café, as well as spacious roastery – they present a truly comprehensive, thoughtful coffee experience (but be warned: no dogs, no prams & no reservations!)
Schönhauser Allee 8, 10119 Berlin
The Coffee House
Auguststrasse 58 (Corner Koppenplatz), 10119 Berlin
With their distinctly minimalist approach to coffee and bean roasting, Bonanza claims that the key to a good ‘cup ‘o joe’ is the passion of those preparing it. As you might see in the finer food and hospitality realm, Bonanza lets the produce do the talking by roasting its beans as little as possible, giving room for the natural flavors to do their work. Bonanza doesn’t do things by halves, and all beans are sourced from genuine fair trade sources – you can taste that in every cup.
Oderberger Str. 35, 10435 Berlin
Down the ‘bourgeois’ end of Kreuzberg’s 61 neighborhood, you’ll find Chapter One, local outpost for the finest brew around. Offering patrons a cozy café experience with minimalist wooden outdoor seating, the service here is friendly and thoughtful, offering smooth, artisan and precision cups of Berlin’s finest. With little of the fanfare, pomp and pretentiousness that follow many ‘third wave’ operators, Chapter One is humble in its approach, with no compromise in quality. Try their cold press for a summer day buzz, or their straight up cup of delicious latte.
Mittenwalder Str. 30, 10961 Berlin
Concierge is more or less a tiny hole in the wall in the driveway to the rear ‘hof’ of a canal-side office complex. Sure, it might be diminutive in statue, but it’s big in charm, personality and the seemingly endless ability to serve up a fine cup. The flat white here is one for the annuls, and locals venture from all nooks of the city to sup the goodness. The mustachioed barristas here are friendly experts, keen to share the knowledge of their craft as you mellow amongst their caffeinated microcosm, flicking through the latest copy of ‘Dapper Dan.’
Paul Lincke Ufer 39-40, 10999 Berlin
Literally the in-house companion of Oranienstrasse’s hip clothing and accessory ‘Voo’ Store, Companion Coffee was founded by Canadian expats Shawn Barber and Chris Onton, who saw a niche in Berlin for a unique take on the café experience: inside a retail setting. Transparency, ethics and a quality focus drive the Companion product, which goes for their fine selection of teas as well as artisan-roasted coffee. Have a shop, take a break and mellow out in this vibrant Kreuzberg institution.(inside Voo Store)
Oranienstraße 24, 10997 Berlin
Written by and photos (except where noted) by Cam Hassard for EuropeUpClose.com