I’m not really a roll out of bed and gimme that coffee or I can’t function kind of female. . . Actually, I function perfectly well on water, juice or perhaps home-brewed tea in the early morning along with a quickie breakfast. COFFEE FOR ME IS MORE OF A TREAT, so last month while on holiday in Germany I decided to treat myself to some serious CAFECITO ALL OVER THE CITY OF BERLIN!!! Berlin is a coffee lover’s adult playground. All that coffee, energy in the form of liquid fuel usually paired with tempting desserts surely spiking my sugar levels, led to creative fun and other times trouble as I’d crash from the highs, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Perfectly lovely hours spent in cozy retreat whilst studying my Italian, blogging, relaxing and taking in the atmosphere/peeping the locals are what I love about the cafes of Berlin. As a keen observer, I create memory often without my camera. If I study a scene carefully enough I can recall that moment even years later, a Cancerian gift. We love the details. We are inspired by the present moment and yet also by memory. I branched out to see what Berlin really has to offer a café-loving QU-EEN… and now to recount my findings.
Google “Berlin Coffee Scene” or “Third Wave Coffee of Berlin” or some shit like this and you’ll get flooded with all the MUSTS and BEST LISTS and bleh blee blooooop. Perhaps you’ll find some new and fabulous place to spike your caffeine or sugar levels, but I prefer ORGANIC SYNCHRONICITY. Finding gems because they are meant for you is Organic Synchronicity; letting go of always needing to plan and allowing the Universe to guide. Only 2 places in this post were google finds. The rest I discovered because the city led me to them. . . so sit back with a cup of Joe/un cafecito/EIN KAFFEE (in German) and maybe you’ll be inspired to go on your own Coffee hunt in your city of choice.
Kauf Dich Glücklich
Oderberger Str. 44, 10435 Berlin, Germany (Prenzlauer Berg)
I had been itching to visit this café because I had walked & biked past it several times on my various visits to Berlin. I had even taken a photo of the front patio so I’d remember to come back and check it out; the exterior furniture looked inviting on many sunny occasions. When I searched their operating hours, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how many photos of WAFFLES came up on my screen; pretty much that’s their thing!!! The Roman and I parted ways one Sunday morning (he’s a Master’s student who studies even on weekends) and I set off to get me something sweet and tasty. Sunday mornings were made for brunch and I happened to arrive before the true brunch crowds, giving me the pick of the place. Sitting pretty and perusing the menu (thankfully they had one in English) I didn’t have much trouble deciding what I wanted. I saw the words fresh fruit and lemon curd as well as the option to add a scoop of ice cream on top! DONE & DONE! ***Now full disclosure, I didn’t get Coffee here. AND I KNOW I KNOW, THIS POST IS ALL ABOUT COFFEE AND IT EVEN SAYS COFFEE IN THE TITLE. Don’t worry there is enough other coffee content and reviews to come.
I ordered their fresh Lemonade with mint. What I got served was bubbly though. Huh? Didn’t say sparkling lemonade on the menu. Confusion. It was also very very sweet, which paired with the very sweet waffles was too much. Should have just gotten the coffee. The breakfast gods were punishing me. If you don’t order coffee, chai or tea you order mimosas. Those are the only appropriate brunch drinks. When I go back that’s my plan and I won’t screw it up. Regardless, I rather enjoyed my breakfast here. The atmosphere was great too, comfy and relaxed. I worked for some time on my Italian notes. Oh yes that’s another thing ***they don’t have internet. I have encountered a few places in Berlin that are more about human to human connection and therefore have signs about INTERNET BEING BAD FOR HEALTH AND PEOPLE. Made me chuckle. It was a beautiful space with lots of natural lighting and an eclectic selection of vintage furniture inside and I didn’t mind that I wasn’t connected to the world wide web for a short time.
CROWD FEEL: A mix of families with babies, couples and groups of friends.
DAY & TIME VISITED: Sunday for late breakfast/brunch.
BUSY OR CHILL: Was chill when I arrived but was getting busy as I was leaving a bit before Noon. Literally I saw a woman with a stroller with kid plus her friend ask 3 different people (one of them being Me) if they were leaving yet so she could have their table.
RATING: decadent and super nom nom … but skip the lemonade and go for that Good Stuff!
Bonanza Coffee Heroes
Oderberger Str. 35, 10435 Berlin, Germany (Prenzlauer Berg)
You know you’re in a hipster café when everything is minimalistic, from the less comfortable bar stool chairs to the smaller counter-space/tables where you’ll drink your coffee and especially when 90% of the customers are using tech devices like laptops and smartphones hardly coming up for air and not speaking to the person sitting across from them. That couple posing weren’t supposed to look at my camera, but I made the mistake of asking them if I could take a photo of them. A moment earlier they were engrossed in their devices and wouldn’t have even noticed the zombie apocalypse in that moment. That’s what I really wanted to capture, because that was the feel here. I WAS GUILTY TOO because I specifically came here to work (writing and blogging on the mind), but I was alone in the city this day. I didn’t have to come up for air because I was traveling Soula. . . and damnit I was craving a coffee somewhere new. I didn’t know I’d end up here, but while walking along the street I noticed a crowd and in cursive white font the word Coffee. Tongue salivating already for my next cup, this place had all the signs of fulFILLing my needs.
I entered the nice interior with a clean and simple design aesthetic. I ordered my coffee, secured a little nook near an outlet and got to work. It quickly became apparent that whoever had chosen the playlist here was my musical soulmate. Oldies hits (to give you an idea songs after song from the Sister Act film) YES! I’m talking more than two hours of music that motivated me to get shit done! The coffee was on point too. ***Bonus that they provided real raw sugar, which I sprinkled daintily atop my cappuccino. I’d come back without a doubt for the music and tasty coffee, or perhaps to replicate the focus that I felt here while working. I’d definitely say the social scene was outside in the patio, people conversing and sharing while devices were tucked away. Isn’t that what weekends in Berlin are for? I wouldn’t mind joining next time if the weather’s a little warmer. I’m still a bit wimpish when it comes to European temps in any Season that isn’t Sommer.
CROWD FEEL: Hipsters, digital nomads and foreigners. Locals too, easily spotted drinking their coffee outside whilst braving the chilly Spring weather.
DAY & TIME VISITED: Sunday afternoon before heading to the Flohmarkt at Mauerpark (just a block away).
BUSY OR CHILL: Busy and seemed to be during the several hours that I was there. Every time a table became empty, someone was there to fill it. Might be more chill during the week.
RATING: Really Great Coffee and Music for the soul! Those oldies jams, just pulling at my heart and reminding me of my dad!
Danziger Str. 16, 10435 Berlin, Germany (Prenzlauer Berg)
When you fly to a country or city you already know, traveling specifically to see someone you love, touching down from that plane you get all kinds feelings in your body, specifically in your gut. Nervous, Excited, Elated feelings all dancing an Irish jig in your stomach. I was waiting for the Roman to get out of school and his day was jam packed. I decided to go to the neighborhood near our favorite dinner spot to wait for him and stopped in a café I had tried before. Last time I was at Rawtastic I had some delicious power smoothie, but the afternoon was cooler and I wanted something to calm my emotions and make me feel like I was home. Hot Chocolate anyone? Not just any Hot Chocolate but one with a kick, as they add something spicy to the mix. Hot chocolate and an all vegan dessert were just what I needed. I can highly recommend you stop by here and see what they are cooking up. They serve food, tapas, all natural juices & smoothies, desserts and wine, and if you haven’t guessed it yet by the name, they have a wide selection of RAW FOOD CONCOCTIONS (like my dessert, not only vegan but also Raw). As afternoon turned to evening and the tables began to fill up with groups that had reserved tables, they kindly let me switch over to an open table and stay as long as I needed. **Depending on the day and time, you may need to reserve a table in advance. The waiting game. . . I was waiting for that reunion with him. When he finally came, I couldn’t believe he was really there in front of me.
CROWD FEEL: Locals and Vegan/veggie/raw lovers.
DAY & TIME VISITED: Friday afternoon turned evening.
BUSY OR CHILL: Chill but like I said, the later it got the reserved tables began to fill up.
RATING: Raw desserts and a health conscious menu makes them stand out!
Bergstraße 68, 10115 Berlin, Germany (Mitte)
This is one of the two places I tried that came from that googled list of Berlin stops for coffee, but now having been I’m sure this place has more fame for its PANCAKES. I wasn’t expecting this. I came hungry but planned to just eat some pastries with my Chai Latte. Not on this day. From the moment I peeped the menu, I knew this day would be about fulfilling the little girl inside of me, the one who loved mornings of fluffy pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse, Saturday cartoons on the tv and family feels. Distrikt’s were 100% FOODIE PANCAKES. They were BIGGER, TASTIER, MORE SOPHISTICATED IN FLAVOR. The ingredients: Buttermilk pancakes, maple berry preserve, granola and citrus butter, garnished with basil. I would do some bad things for this breakfast to appear at the Northwestern-most part of Spain where I live, but alas I know I have to get my ass back to Berlin for them. No doubt in my mind I’ll come return on my next visit. We were lucky, the Roman and I scored a table in the front of the cafe near the glass window. Great lighting seems to be a theme in these top Berlin cafes. My Chai Latte was pure perfection in a mug, so I had to order a second one hours later.
In Berlin’s Mitte neighborhood, which is vast, you can find a different café for every day of the week with ease, but this one should be a priority. Don’t take my word for it. Arrive hungry. The woman next to me ordered the stack of pancakes, ate half of it and called it quits. Just a shame to waste such an extraordinary breakfast meal. I had half a mind to tell her I’d help her out, since she was probably on a diet of some kind. Wander the surrounding streets afterwards, this neighborhood is a cool one.
CROWD FEEL: Locals, business people, travelers and foreigners who had read a MUST LIST and Pancake Lovin fools.
DAY & TIME VISITED: Tuesday Late morning but I was posted there until they closed at 5pm.
BUSY OR CHILL: Busy and yet chill. Completely laid back.
RATING: Great Coffee, Divine Pancakes and a really nice staff.
Kurfürstendamm 18, 10719 Berlin, Germany (West Berlin)
This is another cafe that came from that list from google and I now know why. They know their coffee. They have perfected their craft. You will not get served a mediocre cup of coffee here. You just won’t. They have 4 locations throughout Berlin, but I went to the one that is hidden on the rooftop of a Superdry department store. The only entrance is from the clothing store, which is confusing and I did a double take wondering if my phone’s gps was just fucking with me. Walking up 3 flights of stairs, I finally emerged into this circular cafe. What I liked about this place, it was quiet and full of natural light allowing me to really work without distractions. **This place is self service, so don’t get too comfy in your chair because you have to get up to get your coffee when it’s finished. The good news, the coffee was on point and the dessert was fantastic too. Get the Nut Bread for dessert. Honestly, I don’t know what’s in it but I found myself licking up all the crumbs after I had finished it. Another minimalistic space with a neat and clean design. Must be a German thing, everything neatly in order. The chairs and tables are simple and wooden, but somehow still cozy. The hours past quickly and I left to meet up with the Roman and happened upon a very important Berlin monument just up the 5 minutes up the road. Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is still partially standing even after being bombed during WW2. There is a museum inside that recounts its history and with free entrance it’s worth a visit.
CROWD FEEL: Business people and locals.
DAY & TIME VISITED: Late Weekday morning.
BUSY OR CHILL: Chill. Not a fly bothered.
RATING: Worth it just for the Coffee, but the easy going atmosphere was great too.
NOTHAFT SEIDEL CAFE
Schönhauser Allee 43A, 10435 Berlin, Germany (Prenzlauer Berg)
It’s a one stop shop for all your cravings. Coffee? They’ve got it. Green Matcha Latte? They’ve got it. Natural Juices made to order? Yup! Vegetarian and vegan snacks too. . . and plenty of tables and chairs. Get comfortable here. I did. I found this cafe just by walking past it on the street. The exterior was packed with locals enjoying the sunshine, most smoking a cigarette. That’s my one complaint about Europe. There is hardly a patio that could be enjoyed smoke-free on a nice day. It’s something I struggle with in Spain too, and believe me, I’m waiting for the day that they will say, oh yea second hand smoke is a real thing. Maybe we can make two outdoor sections, a smoke free/clean lungs section and the one other one. Anyway, I was coming down with a cold. Sore throat, onset of a cough, I needed greens and vitamins fast. Luckily they had the fixing for me. I order several juices with lots of ginger here.
CROWD FEEL: Students, digital nomads and locals.
DAY & TIME VISITED: I went twice in one week, both during late afternoon to evening.
BUSY OR CHILL: Busy busy, but there was always an open seat.
RATING: Nice working atmosphere. Cozy spaces too. Build up your immune system with the natural juices (ask for Extra Ginger)
And lastly, for my CHEATS. . . VISIT A WEEKLY MARKT!
The Schöneberg Markt has a waiting line for tiramisù and all other decadent Italian desserts. It doesn’t matter the weather. . . I have frequented in fall, winter and spring and there is always a line!! LOCALS LINE UP FOR THE ITALIAN GOODS!! Even babies wait in line, inside those cool daddy holders and drool over the selection. Sometimes I’m tempted to just order one of everything when it’s finally my turn. The Roman gets a little taste of home when we frequent here! Ahhhh, and they make a great cappuccino too. Standing room only to enjoy that sinful tiramisù or dessert of your choice. Make sure you are really bundled if it’s a cold, wet or snowy day. My fingers and toes froze one winter day and it wasn’t pretty, but the tiramisù eased my pain.
CROWD FEEL: Eclectic, though lots of families and locals
DAY & TIME VISITED: Saturday Markt ONLY late morning!! Sometimes he’s there on a Tuesday also, but can’t be sure.
BUSY OR CHILL: Busy busy busy, but oh baby worth the wait!
RATING: Taste of Italia in Berlin, Deutschland
So there you have it. . . sorry if you are hungry now. Sorry I’m not sorry. Happy Travels!!
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All photos taken FEB-MAR 2017 ARIANA DEL RÍO.