Berlin: A tale of two coffee bars
I had about 12 hours to spend in Berlin between arriving from Wittenberg and flying out to London. Having visited Berlin on a couple of occasions recently and taken in most of the iconic sights I set myself the task to check out the local coffee scene. Berlin’s coffee bars came highly recommended from resident blogger Yvonne Zagermann of justtravelous.com. Armed with the recently acquired iPhone app Beanhunter, which gives the location of coffee shops near your location, I headed out of Berlin Hauptbahnof in search of coffee and some of the lesser known sights. Beanhunter indicated there were 16 coffee bars in Berlin (and one in Sydney, Australia called Cafe Berlin). I picked just two.
Oliv, Munzstrasse 8, 10178 Berlin
Oliv has a modern interior with walls that reminded me of the brutal concrete architecture of the 1960s. Plenty of natural light floods in from large windows. Tables were also squeezed onto the street. There was little atmosphere or buzz often associated with coffee bars and service was very, very slow – so slow it made mañana seem fast. However, they did apologised for the wait so it may not be usual, though the cafe was not crowded.
The iced latte, when it eventually arrived, was worth the wait. Full of taste, which many lattes lack, and with a super creamy texture. Oliv is worth seeking out if you are near Alexanderplatz and you are not in a hurry.
The next coffee bar is altogether different and is well worth the effort spent in searching for it.
The Barn, Auguststrasse 58, Mitte, 10119 Berlin
Interior like a coffee warehouse with aged wood. Unusually they serve coffee from the London roaster, Square Mile. The baristas bring out the best of it making excellent coffee. The Barn has become very popular with the locals. This means they only allow each individual to buy two cakes so they can keep supplies for their neighbourhood clientele. They use filtered water to make the coffee. It is this attention to detail that helps produce what I consider to be the best coffee in Berlin. The Barn is far from barn-like being small and cosy. It spills out onto the pavement with an eclectic mix of chairs and tables.
I had a flat white to die for. Deep flavour and velvety smooth top with great latte art. The “made on the premises” carrot cake was… let’s just say I wasn’t allowed to buy more than two slices. Teas, espresso coffees, aeropress, chai and iced coffees also available.
These two coffee bars were an indication that Berlin does have a worthwhile coffee scene. Have you been to Berlin and tried out its coffee bars? What were your experiences?