During my first days in Berlin, and between the apartment appointments, I spent most of my free time looking for the best coffee shops in the city.
For those that read my blogs, my criteria over what makes a good coffeeshop are known: Great coffee, usually of single-origin, third-wave beans, a good (hipster) environment, with at least a few big, laptop-friendly tables, reliable WiFi and a good location.
In Berlin, it would be stupid not to also include a good supply of Kuchen (baked sweets) as a selling point, even if a good snack selection is pretty much expected from any good coffeeshop these days.
My goal, with all of this exploring, is to, in due time, narrow my choices down to the best two or three, and then spend most of my miserable, gloomy, Berlin mornings there (time, money, and miserability are finite assets).
So, here is a small list, with some quick reviews of the best coffee places I’ve been to in the last seven days in Berlin (in alphabetical order):
1. Bonanza Roastery (Kreutzberg) – Foursquare
Bonanza is a roasting company, and this is much too apparent in their flagship shop. I mean, to use their toilet, you have to leave the building and go through a door in the back that leads to their roasting room. There will be roasting machines, people tasting coffee batches and coffee beans stored on wooden pallets.
The place is in Kreutzberg, which is not one of my favorite parts of town, but it’s hidden into a quiet back alley. The shop is spacious, and well-lit. It’s also quite silent, which is a good thing if you want to get some work done.
On the other hand, there’s only one table where laptop usage is allowed (a big, co-working one), but I can understand that restriction.
Overall, a nice place, but if you want more liveliness, or the possibility of people-watching, you may have to go somewhere else.
2. Coffee Profilers (Friedrichshain) – Foursquare
This coffee shop is located in one of my favorite roads of Berlin, the big, Russian-style, Karl-Marx Allee, where the physics of walking distances magically double themselves (those Eastern Berliners liked their stuff roomy).
The shop is owned by at least two Greeks, which means it will provide you with your important dose of Greek-style Freddo Espresso. I think I’m going to need that when summer comes.
Other than that, the coffee is good, the Kuchen are there, the chairs are nice and there’s a big opportunity for people watching through the glass window.
3. GodShot (Prenzlauer-Berg) – Foursquare
This is a coffee shop in Prenzlauer-Berg, so, depending on the time of day, be prepared to deal with a lot of stroller-pushing moms, Kindern in hand.
GodShot looks small from the outside, but in the back, there are two levels of rooms with couches, where you can relax with a quality flat-white in your hand.
A bad thing is the non-existence of WiFi, and the fact that there’s a poor Vodafone coverage in the spot, that prevents me from taking my daily blog-reading dosage.
Overall, I like it. At least, it has some German newspapers around, so that I can forget about the internet.
4. Happy Baristas (Friedrichshain) – Foursquare
Before my visit to Happy Baristas, I had already been to most of the other places, so I have had quite a few good flat-whites. But, still, when I tasted their own, I stood for one minute in awe. That’s how good it was.
It’s also in Friedrichshain, that I love, and the people working there are very friendly.
Laptop usage is only allowed in some certain tables, which can be a hindrance.
5. Silo (Friedrichshain) – Foursquare
I won’t lie, I like the hipster/Brooklyn aesthetic. I understand what a hipster coffee shop brings to the (coffee) table, and I’m ok with all of its negatives.
But Silo, I think, crosses the borderline between “don’t be mad, it’s just hipster”, to “damn hipsters…”.
To be more specific, my problem was mostly with the uncomfortable arrangement of their so-called chairs and tables. Also, their (of course) vegan food, was too expensive.
But, the coffee was good.
6. The Barn Roastery (Mitte) – Foursquare
Taking the previous paragraph in account, The Barn could also possibly check off the “hipster in a bad way” list. But, mostly because The Barn felt much more comfortable, I liked it.
These people are also roasters, and for this reason you can see coffee products stacked at the back of the shop (a restricted area, of course). They roast their own coffee, and they make it good. I had a great flat-white.
The big front glass window also gives you a great opportunity for people watching, and Schönhauser Allee is a cool street.
In the positives, I’ll include their ban on strollers, but in the negatives, their lack of a toilet for customers. Yeah, that’s a problem.
7. Westberlin (Mitte) – Foursquare
This may be the first third-wave cofeeshop that I ever visited in Berlin, and probably the one that I’ve made most of my visits to.
First of all, they make good coffee. Secondly, they have lots of good stuff to eat, with Orangenkuchen (the one in the photo) being my definite favorite. Thirdly, they are the top place to watch people passing-by.
And, finally, they have a fucking lot of magazines and newspapers around to freely read. I can’t stress how important reading material is to me when I drink my morning coffee. Almost as important as their godly Orangenkuchen.
The only bad thing, I believe, is that at time, it can be too crowded for one to work. Also, the overall area, is a little bit boring and touristy. Other than that, I usually have a good time there.
These are my notes for now. I’ll keep looking for cool places, and soon, there will be a follow-up list, or more detailed posts on specific places.
Do you have any favorite Berlin coffee shops worth checking out? Please leave a suggestion in the comments or send me a message.
I also keep a list of my favorite Berlin coffee shops in Foursquare. Follow the list here.