The third way of coffee in Berlin #1: NO FIRE NO GLORY

NoFireNoGlory-26I spent some time in Berlin during the last Autumn. Fresh of my experience with Monmouth coffee at the Sourced Market and my visit at London Coffee Festival, I had to explore Berlin’s amazing coffee scene.

Having to spend at least 45 mins travelling to get a flat white at Caravans in Kings cross for example (And I do live in zone 2 North London) imagine my feelings when I discover that one of the best coffee shop in town was 5 mins away from my accommodation in Prenzlauer, just a short walk in a jolly good residential area with hardly any traffic, large cobbled pavements lined by trees and small independent shops and restaurants offering outdoor sits (even when they retail books, shoes or kitchenware!).

The coffee shop is NO FIRE NO GLORY a relaxing, laid back and chic environment where COFFEE COLLECTIVE (Copenhagen) and BONANZA COFFEE (Berlin) are brewed and retailed.

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I enjoyed a lovely flat white sitting outdoor and then approached one of the baristas asking permission for taking a couple of pictures. I took my shots and had a little chat with her. She was very kind and took my details and a couple of days after I was sitting in front of a coffee with Ralf Berlit, owner of the coffee shop and one of the key man in the developing of the third way of coffee in Berlin. He happened to like my work and wanted more pictures. Great guy and great chat!

Ralf approached the coffee business from a very different background but once he had to deal with coffee machine purchase he did realize how big the chances and the possibilities were and it was no brainer for him to aim to the top.

He probably felt it necessary: best coffee machines, best coffee making and last but not least the best coffee, meaning also attention to the supply chain and well being of producers and environment.

We talked through all the process: finding the venue and waiting for permissions, challenges in refurbishing and creating your style with tight budget, difficulties in finding investors in Berlin, the challenge of educating customers to a nice espresso and a proper milky and foamy coffee. The challenge to sell a quality product that respect customers and producers. Finally… the satisfaction of doing all that!

We talked also about London coffee scene (everyone dealing with coffee in Berlin is really up to date with what’s going on in London!). I think he really would love to retail some London coffee but as for the situation on the last Autumn no one wants or can export yet (need to research on that!)

Here some pics I took for Ralf at NO FIRE NO GLORY.

Can’t wait to be again sipping on my coffee outdoor Rykestraße 45, maybe on a Sunday after a stroll at he Kollwitz platz market…

 

 

Berlin: Stadt Land Food Festival

Fantastic opportunity to visit Stadt Land Food Festival in Berlin. Workshops about sausages, bread, cheese and coffee, talks and movies about good farming, good feeding and good drinking and amazing street food and German produces! Berlin may not be the most famous city in the world for its food offer but remember Berliners were going green and organic well before the word hipster made sense, their coffee shops were cool and stylish before we knew what a flat white was and they have been shopping with tote bags forever… so I believe they my not have huge resources invested in marketing and PR but they know what they do!

STADT LAND FOOD FESTIVAL

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Having calm down the craving for sausages with a solid regime of curry wurst in the past few days spent in Berlin, on the night at the street food festival I went for a fresh and tasty herring baguette at the fish stall inside the the Markt Halle Neun. Immune to the sight of lovely Italian goodies (apparently the best focaccia in town can be found here) but finally craving for all what I was looking at, I passed all the roasting sausages, got tempted by the triple cheese Surf & Turf Burger with prawns by FISCH ART (really popular) and since I had been such a good girl I finally rewarded myself with some fine Riesling. See you there next year!

Sugar free chocolate, for REAL!

ROH-KAO

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Amazing discovery during my visit at the Kollwitzplatz farmers’ market  in Berlin! I love chocolate and I am always looking for artisan one, with high percentage of cocoa. In addition, because the food industry is force feeding us with sugar, I am always looking for sugar free alternative but normally I found chocolate with sweeteners/syrups… nothing really free from major food processing or at a very low glycemic index.

So let’s say I saw this cocoa products selling stall and asked if I could take pics and also mildly asked Mario, the kind fellow behind the stall, if he had sugar free, REAL sugar free, chocolate… How shining his eyes! He had it indeed and he was very proud of it  because the recipe he’s using, that adopts crushed fruits as sweetener, is his very own!

So if you need sugar free chocolate Mario is the guy and Roh-Kao what you have to look for. Check the website and write to him at mario@rohkao.de, he does speak English and he is very happy to send goods abroad. Obviously if you can go and visit him in Kollwitzplatz on Tuesdays from 11am to 7pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 5pm that’s even better!

I have got this amazing 75% raw double bar (half Ecuador cocoa and half Dom-Rep) and it tastes fantastic, a real natural sweetness that perfectly match the cocoa flavour in a moisturized and rich texture.

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Tales of Summer by Ines Lauber

Tales of Summer by Ines Lauber – www.ineslauber.com

My pick at Stadt Land Food Festival in Berlin, 2.-5. Oktober 2014

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An apple workshop to increase awareness towards food production, seasonality, preservation and unnecessary food waste. Presented at the Stadt Land Food, Festival for good food and good farming in Berlin, in collaboration with Apfelschätze.

Visitors could choose their apples and work on them with an apple peeler. The peel would go to flavour a locally produced vodka; the pulp, beautifully cut in a spiral, hanged to dry and the core left to be eaten around while the seeds could be nicely packed, labelled and taken away.

I met Ines, the project creator, at the very beginning of the vernissage, when the workshop was empty and she was waiting for people to come in and being engaged, but beside the fact that I liked very much her concept in first place I could already see how cool was going to be!

I know very well how working with food is appealing, inspiring and bounding. In no time visitors were sitting around the table working on the apples and sipping on their apple wine while instructing newbies how to use the available machinery and in the all concept. The magic happened!

I found her approach fresh and entertaining, backed up by the simplicity and power of a real passion that overlooks trends. Looking forward to see her next works.

Ines was also collecting personal stories and memories around food to find inspiration for her next projects. I have so many that at that moment I felt overwhelmed and promised to come back to her with a nice story.

Visit www.ineslauber.com for more information about her work!