I 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!).
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…