The best coffee in Berlin
Berlin was somewhat slow to catch on to the Third Wave scene, but over the last few years, it has grown immensely, with new coffee shops opening each year. Prior to this, the most radical coffee you could expect to be served was Fair Trade. Now, however, there are a plethora of establishments that treat coffee more akin to the high-end wine industry; with the focus on quality, traceability, and sustainability that aficionados have come to expect. Mr Hudson introduces you to the best specialty coffee shops in Berlin.
Located on the ever-gentrifying street of Weserstraße, Dots is a one of the latest coffee shops in Berlin, yet also one of the best. The area is popular with creatives, so there was a time when it was full of glowing Apple logos and the constant tapping of keyboards. Since ditching WiFi, however, it has a quiet, relaxing atmosphere that perfectly complements its bright, airy interior — providing the ideal environment in which to enjoy their fantastic coffee. They also serve excellent panini and homemade cakes, all produced with organic ingredients.
Looking out onto a gorgeous park in the north of Berlin’s Mitte district is Oslo Kaffebar. Upon stepping inside from the sunny street, you’re greeted with a beautiful interior that marries the styles of Berlin and Norway, characterised by the exposed concrete ceiling and plenty of natural wood, respectively. As well as producing exceptional coffee, a couple of things make them really stand out. The croissants are made in Paris and driven to Berlin to be baked fresh each morning, and there’s also a record shop in the back of the cafe for vinyl lovers. This is one of the most eco-conscious coffee shops in Berlin. Not only is the coffee (roasted themselves) sustainable, but the vessel you drink it from too. The cups are made in Berlin by Kaffee Form; created from recycled coffee grounds, wood grains, and plant fibres.
Silo is one of the standout establishments in the popular area surrounding Boxhagener Platz in Friedrichshain. Not just for its bright red walls, which make it hard to miss, but for its focus on high-quality ingredients and local produce. The coffee, for example, is provided by Fjord, a roastery that opened earlier this year as a result of a collaboration between Silo and Father Carpenter. Beyond the coffee, you’ll find Berlin connections across the menu. Whether it’s cold brew from Master Wolf, Fountain of Youth coconut water from Michelberger, teas from Companion, or the amazing breakfast food, which features locally farmed ingredients and sourdough bread baked by Sironi.
As featured in our guide to Berlin, Five Elephant is one of Kreuzberg’s premier locations for coffee. With its own roastery next door, you can be assured of the freshest beans for your brew, yet for many people, the cakes are the biggest draw. If you’re in the area and have a sweet tooth, the vanilla cheesecake is unmissable. In fact, it’s so popular that when you go to indulge in its delicious, velvety goodness, you have to keep your fingers crossed there’s some left, as it’s swiftly hoovered up by locals and visitors alike.
The quality of their coffee is now so established that you can find their roasts across Europe, North America, and Asia
Berlin’s coffee scene was still in its infancy when The Barn arrived in 2010, making it one of the first specialty coffee shops in Berlin. There was much less focus on quality and sustainability compared to today, and as such, they can be considered among the pioneers. Since opening their small coffee shop in Mitte they’ve also opened their own roastery/coffee bar — a large, beautiful space designed to let people enjoy their coffee without distraction. Laptops are limited, there’s an absence of music, and (controversially) prams aren’t permitted. The quality of their coffee is now so established that you can find their roasts across Europe, North America, and Asia.
One of the cosiest coffee shops in Berlin derives its name from the former concierge hut that has been its home for the last three years. It’s so small in fact that there’s no seating inside. Unless Berlin is in the throes of one of its bitter winters, people tend to order through the concierge hut’s window rather than stepping inside, after which they either take their coffee to go or sit in the sun on the benches outside. What Concierge Coffee lacks in size, however, it more than makes up for in the quality of coffee, which is skilfully crafted from their signature Concierge roast.
Within the popular concept store, Voo Store, you can find one of the best coffee shops in Berlin — Companion. Owners Chris and Shawn were among the first baristas employed by The Barn and left in 2010 to found their own establishment. Different roasts are available every couple of weeks, with names such as Drop, Casino Mocca, Koppi and La Cabra among the popular choices. If you’re peckish, there are some delectable cakes on offer, baked fresh by Black Isle Bakery. The coffee here is second-to-none, yet they are becoming increasingly well known for their line of teas that share the focus on quality and sustainability that Third Wave coffee is known for.
Bonanza Coffee was founded in 2007, and since that time they have consistently been at the forefront of Berlin’s Third Wave scene. Nearly ten years later you can find their coffee in cafés across the world, a testament to their success, and they have two great spaces in Berlin where you can experience the superb quality of their roasts. The first is their café in Prenzlauer Berg, located close to Mauerpark. Alternatively, there is their stunning new space in Kreuzberg — the Bonanza Roastery Café.
While exploring the district of Kreuzberg, you may chance upon a sign on the street proudly declaring “Bloody good coffee!”. If so, you’re at 19grams, one of the great little coffee shops in Berlin that came onto the Berlin scene in 2014. Aside from outstanding coffee (they use roasts from Friedrichshain-based Tres Cabezas), there are tasty homemade cakes and the usual assortment of pastries. Seating is limited, but it’s ideal for grabbing a coffee to go and exploring the neighbourhood’s vibrant streets and unique stores.
No Fire, No Glory
Among the quaint streets of Prenzlauer Berg you’ll find many great coffee shops to choose from, but No Fire, No Glory is our favourite. You’ll find it along Rykestraße, in a gorgeous neighbourhood full of superb independent establishments. The interior is clean and inviting, featuring a rotating exhibition of local artwork, and the experience is rounded off with first-rate coffee and homemade cakes and pastries.
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Bonanza Coffee | Photo: James Fancourt
Oslo Kaffebar | Photo: James Fancourt
No Fire No Glory | Photo: James Fancourt
Companion Coffee | Photo: James Fancourt