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One Week of Third Wave Coffee in Berlin

25 Sep 2013

I have now been in Berlin for approximately a week. I have had coffee every day since then and have tried numerous cafes picked from internet lists. As a SF-taught coffee snob, I will not be sad in this city though I haven’t found anything to match Blue Bottle or Sightglass. There are definitely things on the level of Four Barrel or Ritual, though.

I’ve had, at every shop, either a straight shot or an espresso macchiato. Several shops have varying forms of pour-over, which I’ll move on to trying sometime in the future. I’ve also had one soy latte and would highly recommend you avoid the experience unless you have time to develop a taste for the soy milk. It has a much stronger soy bite to it and leaves a lasting aftertaste. I am also a fan of smaller bite-size cookies/pastries with my coffee; most places have had croissant-sized pastries. Few have had little things.

The cafes, in no particular order (disclaimer: some of these are not actually “third wave” but whatever):

  • Five Elephant - Kreuzberg - site
    This will most likely become my regular; not only is the espresso good and the location within walking distance, they have a good selection of smaller biscotti &c. in addition to the usual croissants. Good for pen-and-paper work, thinking, reading. Smaller seating area in back for laptops. Appear to roast.

  • Bonanza Coffee - Prenzlauer Berg - site
    Another excellent choice, though slightly pricier. They have a roaster. Not a good place to get work done, though excellent with a friend. Much more outdoor seating than in. Pastries included non-croissant options but nothing small; I split an excellent shortbread which cost close to €3. They had V60 single-origin for drip.

  • Chapter One - Kreuzberg - site
    A very, very good shot. Only stool seating with small tablespace. Small pastries available in addition to croissants. There was a siphon bar, though I did not order one. Go here with a friend and enjoy your drink.

  • Sankt Oberholz - Mitte - site
    Coffee nothing to write home about; fairly bitter. Had a large scone, was phenomenal. This appears to be the spot to work-from-cafe. Two floors of large tables, almost every seat filled with a laptop. Baristas couldn’t care less about you. If you want to get some work done in a bustling environment and not pay coworking fees, go here. Else, find a different place.

  • Leuchstoff - Neukölln - site
    Decent coffee and very cheap. Popular with the hip Neukölln crowd, and can be a bit noisy. Very, very interesting seating with some places for laptops, some sofas to hang out, and some elevated sofas you must climb a ladder to get to. Worth checking out the space at least once.

  • Double Eye - Schöneberg - site
    Good coffee; a few places to stand with a counter inside, several seats outside. Don’t come here to work; this is a place to have your good shot with your paper, catch up with a friend, and be on your way.

  • Godshot - Prenzlauer Berge - site
    Quite good, lots of comfortable seating for reading and writing and conversing. Only large pastries available. Had on great music - remixes of modern English stuff. Unsure if they do their own roasting, but they did have three different beans for espresso.

  • The Barn - Mitte - site
    Another excellent choice, though seating is mostly outdoor. They roast their own. A bit pricier, probably due to location. Great for people-watching, and a good selection of pastries (though all large-ish).

  • Two and Two - Neukölln - site
    Decent espresso, gorgeous menu. They sell an eclectic mix of Japanese stationary supplies. Very short business hours (12 - 18). Owner(s) appear to speak English, German, and Japanese. May speak French as well, but unsure. Phenomenal small French pastries (had financier and madeleine on my visit) and my shot came with a candied walnut. Good place to hang out and work.