Berlin district Kreuzberg is diverse to say the least. It’s colorful and multi cultural. But, it’s also young and hip and full of amazing coffee places. It’s one of the districts, where specialty coffee grew and developed over the past 5 years. Many of the specialty coffee shops and cafes her aren’t older than 3-4 years.
The specialty coffee scene still is young here in Berlin, but Kreuzberg is part of the movement and you can see and tell by the people on the streets: This is the place to be!
To cover all the great places I’d like to introduce you to, I need to split my walking guide to specialty coffee in Kreuzberg into 2 parts. There are just so many great locations to visit and try-taste through coffee & food menus…
Part number 1 will be featuring the following coffee shops and cafes:
Kaffee 9, 19 grams, Refinery Specialty Coffee Store, Five Elephant Cake & Coffee and Black Sheep, which is not really Kreuzberg anymore, but lies in the neighbored district Treptow.
And by doing this, I’m being actually very historic. The far south east of Kreuzberg used to be surrounded by the Berlin wall from three sides – you can tell by looking at my little map below the article, with the Landwehrkanal and the Spree as natural borders still reminding of the former wall. Neighborhood district Treptow actually was part of East Berlin.
So, by including Black Sheep here, I’m connecting Eastern and Western Berlin (coffee) culture… sorta. ;-)
Let’s start this walking tour at Markthalle 9 and, yeah, why not, with grabbing some breakfast at one of the many market stands there.
The market hall, Markthalle 9, had to be part of this tour, because it’s just so unique and at the same time typical for Berlin again.
The charm of the old market hall of the 19th century still is visible in there and combined with the focusing on local produce – veggies, fruits, cheese, meat, bread and all the other great items sold there, come from farmers and manufactories in and around Berlin – this is the place to start that tour! Trust me!
So, grab something to eat in the market hall and swing by Kaffee 9, just next door to the Markthalle 9 to get your morning fix.
With the help of Philipp, the small café – it was very tiny in the beginning actually – turned into a coffee house and a roastery in 2016. If you’re lucky, you can see Philipp and his team roasting or cupping coffee in the back of Kaffee 9 next to the roaster behind the large window.
Kaffee 9 serves their own roasted coffee, the house blend for their espresso based drinks is called Eisenbahn – the café is on Eisenbahnstrasse -, as well as cold brew and Nitro cold brewed coffee from tap by another Berlin start up called Brewbox that brew their coffee down in the cellar below Kaffee 9.
Leaving Kaffee 9 walk on Wrangelstrasse all the way towards the subway station Schlesisches Tor. From there you have access to the Watergate, a very impressive building on Oberbaumbruecke connecting Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain district. Make sure to stop here for some photos.
Just around the corner from Watergate lies 19grams. The second stop on this tour in this walking guide to specialty coffee in Kreuzberg.
This small café belongs to specialty coffee shop and roaster Tres Cabezas with their main location being on Boxhagener Strasse and another branch of 19grams in Berlin district Mitte on Chausseestrasse. I’ve been to all of these locations and really like the atmosphere in all three of them.
But, what you actually can’t tell by visiting their shops, they do an amazing job on their website. They not only have an online shop – so, if you wanna buy their coffees, after you’ve left Berlin and are running out of beans, you can get them in their online shop.
They also regularly post blog articles, about how to do Latte Art or how to make a cortado, introducing their staff and their coffees or they share one of their cake recipes with the readers. Love that! :-)
If you’re vegan and still want your regular cappuccino or cortado, they offer oat milk, one of my personal favorites as dairy substitute.
They do have a little food menu – savory and sweet – to go with your coffee. Another neat detail, their coffee and food menu is handwritten on black boards above the counter.
Heading outside of 19grams you have multiple options now, depending on what you feel like:
Why black, you’re asking? Well, I asked the lovely ladies in the cute shop the same questions and they told me that with so many ice cream shops around, you need something to stick out with and in their case it’s charcoal to blacken the ice cream.
Anyways, it was delicious! Didn’t need the marshmallows, though… Not a fan. ;-)
More in a mood for beer or some other refreshing beverage after your coffee? Well, then head to Banja Luka, beer garden atmosphere and ping pong table included.
Little bit more walking maybe? I got you covered… But not too far, dear reader. The next spot for your sweet tooth is waiting for you on Wrangelstrasse and that is Pastel, the pastel nata joint, focused only on the Portuguese sweet treat, from bakery Bekarei in district Prenzlauer Berg.
Even, if you’re not hungry at that very moment, grab one to go, they’re so delicious. You’ll regret, if you don’t! ;-)
Literally next door is craft beer bar Hopfenreich, another great place to try-taste through their craft beers from around the world.
Take a rest here and enjoy the green atmosphere or continue walking through the park south towards the third spot on this tour, which is Black Sheep on Bouchéstrasse.
Walk over Landwehrkanal and into Kiefholzstrasse and take a right onto Bouchéstrasse.
I’ve read this is the best vegan coffee shop in town! I’m not vegan and I didn’t go to all the other vegan spots, but I can confirm, Black Sheep are doing a really great job!
They opened only in early 2016, but are amongst the best places in town already. They serve home made savory and sweet food – I had one of their power bliss balls, which was yumm!
They make their own kombucha tea (if you’re heading to the restrooms, take a look around in their kitchen, you’ll see the giant glass bowls with the fermented teas sitting in one of the shelves) and they serve specialty coffee roasted by Bonanza and Populus out of Berlin.
Oh, and again very creamy oat milk for your cappuccino or flat white, whatever you prefer. But, they not only have oat milk, they also serve rice, coconut, almond and soy milk as other dairy substitutes.
Wanna keep your caffeine level a little lower in the midst of our walking tour? Well, how about some tea or Japanese Matcha? I know, tea contains caffeine as well… But, as for me, I tend to mix my beverages a little during such a caffeinated tour, even if it is with tea.
Up for some merch? Black Sheep offers a small range next to their counter, like T-Shirts and coffee gear. Oh, and glass bottles and jars for their kombucha and other homemade fermented treats such as kimchi and sauerkraut to take with you.
Stepping outside of Black Sheep and taking a right, you’ll come across a vintage clothing shop, Vintage Berlin. If you like to shop for some vintage during your stay in Berlin, this might be one of the places to go to.
Leaving Vintage Berlin, take a right onto Karl-Kunger-Strasse and make your way back to the little bridge over Landwehrkanal.
Definitely walk along the canal – it’s such a scenic walk – and then turn right onto Reichenberger Strasse, where stop number 4 featured in my walking guide to specialty coffee in Kreuzberg is located.
Kris and his wife Sophie, owners of Five Elephant, are among the trailblazers of specialty coffee in Berlin. They opened the location on Reichenberger Strasse back in 2010, where the specialty coffee map in Berlin was still rather empty.
They now are one of the most popular coffee shops and roasters in Europe and world wide, not only because of their great coffees, but, of course, because of their famous cheesecake. ;-)
If you wanna know the whole story behind Five Elephant listen to the podcast interview I did together with Kris here.
At this very location here is also the bakery, where all those nice sweet treats are baked freshly every day and are delivered to the other newer café they just opened in early 2017 in Mitte.
If you’re up for a filter coffee here, you can usually order almost all of the coffees that are in their coffee range brewed with different brewing methods. The batch brew is also really nice and balanced.
Oh, and you’re not leaving that place without trying their cheesecake. No cheating, ok? ;-)
Guys, another ice cream spot is coming up!
Located on Reichenberger Strasse, just a couple blocks away from Five Elephant lays Vanille & Marille, one of the many ice cream manufactories in Berlin with several locations throughout the city. They usually have an ice cream of the month, often a seasonal creation.
Taking a right on Forster Strasse you’ll notice that we’re heading back towards the Goerlitzer park area again. Walking along the park on Wiener Strasse a very unique shop concept is located just across Spreewaldplatz, ‘original unverpackt’.
It’s a shop concept, invented in 2012, where you can buy groceries and other household utensils without disposable packaging. No plastic, no aluminium, only glass jars and bottles. Pretty much zero waste. You’re cordially invited to bring your own bags, jars, bottles and storage boxes from home. This concept spread all over Germany already and is now a franchise concept.
Even if you don’t need anything of their range at that very moment, have a sneak in the little shop. I’m really hoping that this concept will spread globally.
Walking along Wiener Strasse and crossing Skalitzer Strasse, you’ll already see our last stop on this tour: Refinery Specialty Coffee Store.
Barely visible from the outside – it’s basically only a door and a small window -, this shop offers a fine range of specialty coffee from Northern Europe and Scandinavia at the moment.
The concept of the store is to showcase the coffees and their origin as well as the story behind and the people farming, growing and cultivating the coffees.
Part of this concept is also to show different brewing methods and make suggestions for those coffees to help you brew your own great cup at home.
They usually have two filter coffees of their range as batch brews to try-taste on the cupping table in the middle of the shop.
But, they not only offer filter coffees, if you’re more of an espresso fan or like espresso based coffee drinks, head all the way till the back of the store to the counter and order your preferred beverage from one of the skilled baristas.
Refinery High End Coffee has another location in Mitte with that shop being more of a specialty café serving also sweet and savory treats.
If you wanna end this tour with some food, head to the neighborhood around Markthalle 9 again or stay in the area around Goerlitzer Bahnhof, many great restaurants are waiting for you, such as Long March Canteen…
Curious about all the other great specialty cafes & roasteries in Kreuzberg? Head over to my ‘Walking guide to specialty coffee in Kreuzberg (Part 2)’ here!