I’ve first come across Happy Baristas in spring 2016. One of the many coffee related visits to the city I’ve done before actually moving there. Back then they had just opened their doors about 6 months before. At that time I hadn’t been into coffee cocktails just, yet, the shop had been on my list of specialty coffee places to check out solely…
The shop is run by Marian, Slovakian Barista Champion, who had been working for coffee shops in the Czech Republic and Berlin before, and Roland who ran one of the busiest coffee shops in Prague and being one of the trailblazers in the specialty coffee scene in the Czech Republic.
Only another 6 months after my first visit something happened: Happy Baristas had been the first – in Berlin, if I’m not mistaken – to offer coffee cocktails during Berlin Coffee Festival 2016 with four amazing recipes created by brewing bartender Lukas. Marian remembers:
M. “We used to do special signature drinks and coffee cocktails from the beginning, but mainly for special occasions…I think it is a great way for people to gain new knowledge, see different approach towards combining flavors. There is a lot to learn from the world of bartenders.”
After trying my first coffee cocktails at Happy Baristas a whole new world opened up for me, a world full of flavor, creative recipes and innovative preparation of coffee drinks.
I remember revisiting Happy Baristas over and over again after that very Berlin Coffee Festival because of their broad menu of coffee beverages that you usually don’t see on the menus of specialty coffee places. I’ve only experienced beverages such as coffee milk shakes or nitro coffee during my coffee trip to the US in summer 2016. To the specialty coffee scene in Berlin this was totally new.
M. “[We] wanted to use coffee in different forms and offer people things you don’t usually see on the menu of a specialty coffee shop, for example a coffee milkshake.”
Happy Baristas & World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion Martin Hudak
The most inspiring moment when it comes to combining coffee & booze for me, though, was, when I attended Co:Lab Berlin in spring 2017, a Barista event held by the Barista Guild of Europe with many workshops, events and a lot of networking possibilities for the attendees.
Why was that? Well, they managed to invite Martin Hudak as one of the speakers who also gave an amazing workshop about hospitality. At that time, he was working for famous Savoy in London and only a couple months later won the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship in Budapest. A start into a great career for him AND the start of working with the guys at Happy Baristas:
M. “Martin Hudak is a good friend of ours, we share similar ideas and approach in hospitality and service the same way. We have always been very close and shared the enthusiasm towards bringing the world of coffee and alcohol together.”
Summer 2018 was the time, when Martin and the guys at Happy Baristas created a full menu of coffee cocktails for the Berlin coffee & bar fans alike. I couldn’t have been happier, I wanted to try them all.
M. “When we decided to bring something fresh and different to the scene and roll out a full menu of coffee cocktails focused also on high quality rum, we wanted to make sure we would do it with the highest possible quality. Us, not coming from bartending world, we obviously asked Martin to help us create a menu, to train our staff…”
And Happy Baristas is doing a really great job by introducing the Berliners to a new culinary experience! Not only with their amazing Brunch menu that they added in the recent years, but also with their nitro brews and with the coffee cocktail menu, of course. The next outdoor season is coming up and I’m already looking forward to try some of the new recipes that they created in collaboration with Martin:
M. “We are very happy with the concept we created together and can’t wait for summer to come again when we will be able to open all our windows wide open, having people sitting in the sun outside of the shop sipping on some delicious coffee cocktails.”
Before you’re able to try the creations at Happy Baristas I managed to ask Marian for two of the recipes including a step-by-step ‘How to’ that I’ll be sharing with you, dear reader, below.
Wohoo! So so happy! If you’re into coffee & booze like me, you have to either stop by Happy Baristas in the coming spring and summer months OR go mix them in your home bar / kitchen yourself!
I love how Happy Baristas is continuing with their trailblazer position of offering a different coffee beverage menu by inspiring other shops to be more open and creative, too:
M. “… it seems our decision to go this way was a good one, as we see many other places across town putting coffee cocktails on their menu, even the most purist ones. Being an inspiration to others is fantastic but also makes us work harder and come up with more awesome stuff!”
Please, Marian and Roland, continue being awesome and creative with your drinks and thanks for the interview!
Happy Baristas coffee cocktails: The recipes
Both of these drinks are specials that Marian created for Craft Cocktails Festival that had been held in early March. Happy Baristas had been running a slightly different coffee cocktail menu for this event, serving not only drinks based on rum from their current menu, but using some other alcohol as well. Patrick one of their staff created an awesome coffee whiskey sour for example. They also tried to use some local alcohol brands for the festival, too, as you’ll find in one of the recipes below.
Coffee Cocktail: Mr ND
This is our coffee take on the classic Negroni. It is an “introduction” coffee cocktail one might say. Nothing crazy creative, no big amounts of coffee involved, with only minor tweaks this is an ideal drink for those who have never had a coffee cocktail and might be afraid a bit of the caffeine content.
This is still a Negroni through and through, but with this simple drink we wanted to also show how one can use coffee in cocktails in so many different ways.
We’ve got Discarded Sweet Vermouth that is infused with cascara, a dried skin from coffee cherries that used to be mainly considered waste, than we have the whole roasted beans infusing the Campari and of course and actual coffee liquid in form of Mr Black Coffee Amaro.
For the Craft Cocktails Festival we decided to use The Duke, German gin from Munich, but feel free to use a gin of your preference.
30ml The Duke Gin
15ml Discarded Cascara Sweet Vermouth
25ml coffee infused Campari
10ml Mr Black Coffee Amaro
Stir over ice, pour over one large ice cube in a chilled glass, express and garnish with an orange peel.
Coffee Cocktail: Tropical Day
This is a very refreshing summery drink with an exotic feel to it. Again, for the purpose of the festival we wanted to use something local and the Tante Hilde Strawberry Rum from Nicolas Krüger works perfectly in this drink.
To balance the sweetness and to bring a bit more character we add Smith & Cross Jamaican rum to the party. For the exotic feel and acidity we add our house made pineapple shrub.
Going in line with the strawberry flavor we use cold brew from naturally processed Ethiopian coffee. Roasted by Black from Slovakia. A bit of Campari and Absinthe and you have yourself one refreshing drink for the summer day on a beach (or a sunny balcony of your Berlin flat).
30ml Tante Hilde Strawberry Rum
15ml Smith & Cross
40ml pineapple shrub -> Here’s a ‘How to’ for a homemade shrub
45ml natural Ethiopia Beriti Tore cold brew
2 drops Absinthe
Shake with ice, strain into chilled glass with one large ice cube, garnish with banana leaves.
Tropical Day was my favorite, when I tried both coffee cocktails while shooting the photos for this article. I’m curious how you like the two recipes. And, I’d love to hear your feedback on all of the other delicious creations on the coffee cocktail menu of Happy Baristas you might try this summer.