Writer Jason Huffnagle is traveling all across Europe, drinking coffee and sharing with us the cultures, recipes, and traditions of the beverage all across the continent. In this edition, he explores Berlin.
BY JASON HUFFNAGLE
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
Photos courtesy of Jason Huffnagle
Berlin feels like a city distinctly filled with dichotomies: multicultural yet traditionalist, pragmatic but at the same time avant-garde, and full of history but also on the cutting edge of modernity. Evidence of this dualism can be seen and felt everywhere—from the city’s parks, museums, and architecture to the mores and attitudes of Berliners themselves.
In Berlin, there is something from just about every era. King Nebuchadnezzar’s massive Ishtar Gate from Babylonian antiquity in the Pergamon Museum, for instance, neighbors a replica of communist East Germany in the interactive DDR Museum, just across the Spree. On top of the ubiquitous museums, there’s the Brandenburg Gate, where Germany ushers in major national events. And on the culinary side of things, there’s a nearly boundless array of trendy restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.
With their specialty espresso beverages and nitro coffees/teas on tap, Happy Baristas serves something unique for coffee and tea drinkers alike. They proudly carry specialty coffee from many top roasters from across Europe (many of which I have only become familiar with since beginning my travels), including Workshop Coffee from London, Casino Mocca from Budapest, and their hometown hero, The Barn, from Berlin.
The location I visited was in Friedrichshain, a neighborhood on the east side of Berlin known for its distinct, punky vibe, and not far from the East Side Gallery (the longest preserved stretch of the Berlin Wall). Approximately a 20-minute walk to the north is the Stasimuseum, a museum located in the former headquarters of the East German Ministry for State Security that displays Stasi (East German communist secret police) spying equipment.
Bonanza Coffee Roasters
Being a contender for one of the top speciality stores that I have visited so far, Bonanza Coffee Roasters is a little removed from some of the main tourist attractions, but definitely worth checking out. Their friendly staff told me they typically roast on Tuesdays, and with their roaster just tucked beyond the sales counter, you better expect this place to smell amazing every second day of the week. They also have another location called Bonanza Coffee Heroes located in the Brunnenviertel neighborhood near a well-known neighborhood flea market in Mauerpark, a park created on the site of the former border between East and West Berlin.
Bonanza Coffee Roasters is not far from Markthalleneun (Market Hall Nine), a beautiful indoor market space that sells local goods and produce. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, the market has several other attractions, including a brewery and many restaurants. It also offers cooking classes for locals and tourists alike.
Since beginning my travels in Europe, The Barn’s reputation has preceded itself—so naturally I had to visit their roaster while in Berlin. Located near Hackescher Markt, an area known for its nightlife, this shop offers a selection their coffees on multiple brew methods as well as incredible baked goods. It is also in close proximity to renowned Japanese ramen and sushi restaurant Cocolo Ramen.
The Barn has two other locations, one of which is located in Café Kranzler, a historic coffeehouse that first opened in 1834. This location is also near a famous (if not the most famous) German department store, the Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDaWe), as well as the Berlin Zoo and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church—built from the ruins of the original church, which was bombed by the Allies during World War II.
On top of offering coffee from local roastery Five Elephant, Prachtwerk inhabits a beautiful space decorated with artwork by local artists, and regularly hosts a variety of intimate, live performances. If that weren’t enough, they also have a full kitchen and bar, serving delicious food/baked goods, and cocktails. Want to try some of everything? You can feel good about doing so since Prachtwerk gives their profits to various local and international humanitarian organizations’ projects. With their ample space, plenty of seating, and overall chill vibe, this place is a great spot to get some work done, have engaging conversation, or catch a performance.
Found in the center of the Neukölln district, Prachtwerk is located near the Rathaus-Neukolln U-Bahn station. While visiting this shop will take you away from some of the more typical Berlin sites, the neighborhood–with its international (and notably Turkish) cuisine and artsy flair–is well worth the trip.
The next leg of my trip takes me by boat to my first Scandinavian country and the capital of Denmark: Copenhagen. Danes are known for being some of the top consumers of coffee, drinking an average of 1.46 cups of coffee a day. I expect to find not only great specialty-coffee shops, but some kindred spirits as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Huffnagle is a freelance writer for Barista Magazine who has worked in coffee as a barista for six years. Having recently left his “adult job” in the U.S. Senate, the Alaska native is spending the next four months traveling throughout Europe. You can keep up with his coffee-fueled travels and other exploits by following him at @jasonhuffnagle on Twitter.