The coffee in Berlin is fantastic. The third wave coffee scene has completely taken over, and roasters and baristas are incredibly passionate about their specific styles, techniques, equipment and, most importantly, the beans.
Surprisingly, even with their soaring standards, the prices of Berlin’s coffee establishments are still comparable to your everyday cafe (and definitely cheaper than Starbucks). Even more surprisingly, the baristas and owners of these institutions are far from pretentious – they’re always happy to discuss their processes and adventures and give out advice about the best home brewing techniques.
Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m no coffee expert – I’m also obsessed with a great cup of tea – but Joe and I have tried and tested the cafes below and, while I can’t attest to the specifics of their techniques or skills, each time they seem to get better and better. So, while the list below is merely one consumer’s opinion, these cafes never let us down and thus I recommend them to you, if ever you get the chance.
Although the folks at Silo don’t roast their own coffee, they have yet to place a bad cup in front of us. They rotate their beans weekly (often using local roasters like The Barn) and have artfully mastered the concept up plating up great food next to great coffee. However, I’m fairly certain a requirement of working at Silo is an Australian passport and I don’t think anyone behind the counter can actually speak much german, which seemed to piss off certain snobby Germans at the table next to us. But let’s be honest, if you’re not happy with it, go somewhere else.
Gabriel-Max-Straße 4, 10245 Berlin
Roamers was one of our first tastes of great coffee in Berlin. Its hip and I love their cosy space, but its pretty small and always packed. And not only is their coffee delicious, but their food is also great. The staff at Roamers are nice and if it weren’t so impossible to get a seat I would definitely visit more often.
Pannierstraße 64, 12043 Berlin
4. The Barn
The Barn is somewhat the King of the third wave coffee scene in Berlin. One of the better known establishments, they have a huge roastery right in their store and have decided to go for a strict but impressive concept – they only offer what they believe is the best way to serve coffee. No fucking around with soy milk or sugar or even regular espresso styles; you’re only allowed what they want to give you. But granted, their product is fantastic, so in return for obeying their rules you’ll be rewarded with one of the best coffees in Berlin.
Auguststraße 58, 10119 Berlin
3. Five Elephant
Five Elephant is my personal favourite. They’ve got a nice big space that rarely gets too packed, they trade directly with their growers and they roast right in the back of their store. So not only is their coffee smooth and delicious, but – and I realise this fact is completely unrelated and shouldn’t sway my opinion in any way – their cheesecake is the best I’ve ever had. And its the best you’ll ever have. There’s a reason Five Elephant are famous for it.
Reichenberger Straße 101, 10999 Berlin
2. Bonanza Coffee Heroes
Queues are common at Bonanza – especially on Sundays when the flea markets are on at Mauer Park across the road – but the coffee is worth the wait. Inside, Bonanza is a little small, but it’s warm and inviting in a mad-scientist’s-laboratory kind of way. They have numerous coffee techniques available to try, they roast their own beans in store and even have some available for you to take home. Bonanza are said to be the pioneers of the first wave coffee movement in Berlin, and they’re seriously passionate about their quality, values and Fair Trade practices, which is really just the icing on the cake of their perfectly brewed brew.
Oderberger Straße 35, 10435 Berlin
In an old gate-keeper’s room, two men – who are coincidentally (or maybe not) former graduates of the cult that is Bonanza Coffee Heroes – will make friendly conversation with you while they create the best damn flat white you’ll ever have. Only a year or so old, Concierge is tiny station for coffee junkies dug out underneath a large warehouse building along the Kreuzberg canal. It’s difficult to find but, once you do, you’ll understand the art of producing incredible coffee in tiny spaces. With their charming take-away window, it’s the perfect spot to stop at as you’re strolling along the river on a cold Sunday morning. In less than 15 square metres they’ve created a charismatic space along the canal serving the smoothest coffee you’ll ever taste. This place is an absolute must.
Paul-Lincke-Ufer 39-40, 10999 Berlin
While this list is far from complete, it’s a fair summary of the best coffee I’ve had in Berlin thus far. It’s also a good indication of how much free time I’ve had. Nevertheless, there are also plenty of caffeine haunts I have yet to try – Double Eye, Cafe CK, Companion Coffee and No Fire, No Glory (just to name a few) are next on my hit list. But with more fantastic cafes here than I can keep track of, it’s certainly going to be a challenge to get to them all.
Coffee in Berlin. It doesn’t disappoint.