Hamburg is the first city on the BeanDealers roadtrip where we were both together (this time we also took our buddy from Amsterdam, Martijn). While we’d all heard great things about Hamburg and it’s burgeoning coffee scene, none of us had ever been there.
We arrived late on Friday night, the night after I’d had my Christmas party, so I was a little worse for wear. As we got our bearings in search of some dinner, we realised our apartment was well placed to some great areas. After a lamb and beer dinner at a cosy little Turkish restaurant, I crashed out while Martijn and Max took full advantage of the Hamburg clubbing scene at Golem.
Saturday was the day of roasters, and, while I was well rested, it was Max and Martijn’s turn to feel the wrath of a big night out. I got up early in search of a pick-me-up for my fellow weekend warriors and I.
Planning out our visits for the day, I decided on:
- Less Political
- Speicherstadt Kaffeerösterei
- Public Coffee Roasters
The place we were staying was a short walk from Elbgold. When I got there around 11:00 it was already packed. Located in an old train yard building a little way from the Schanzenstraße shopping district, there was clearly a loyal local fan base for Elbgold.
Elbgold take their bean sales as seriously as their café, evinced by the two bars set up; one serving coffee, the other offering up no fewer than eleven different roasts. After taking a few happy snaps to show the boys I grabbed a cappuccino with their easy-drinking house blend and a black coffee for Martijn with their fruity, slightly acidic monthly feature coffee.
After grabbing the guys from the apartment, we headed back to the Schanzenstraße area, stopping by Elbgold one more time and having a cheeky IPA at the Altes Mädchen brewery.
We then walked to Less Political, a small but popular café which stocks a wide range of beans from over Germany including Five Elephants (Berlin). They also have a branded blend roasted by Quijote Kaffee. Less Political is a café that donates 1 euro for every kilo of coffee sold to a wide variety of organisations covering youth support and anti-political extremism among others.
LP truly fits into a freethinking neighbourhood reminiscent of some of the bohemian areas of Berlin.
Jumping on the metro, we made our way to Speicherstadt Kaffeerösterei, a far more commercial roaster located in an old converted warehouse in the main harbour area. The place was jammed with people and tastefully decorated with antique roasters and other coffee apparatus. It had the feel of a very German Starbucks, but with good coffee. Non-pretentious, not expensive and super friendly, we were fortunate to have a huge bag of sample beans waiting for us behind the counter from Felix (Speicherstadt Sales & Marketing).
As the sun was setting we headed to Public Coffee Roasters just as they were cleaning up for the day. The guys were nice enough to serve us anyway, giving us our final espresso. Public is another place riding the 3rd wave of coffee and leading the transformation of the Hamburg coffee scene.
In the evening we checked out the sites around town, with dinner at the homely and local Erika’s Eck. We got there around 22:30, but that’s ok right (?), things in Hamburg tend to stay open pretty late and Erika’s is open for food until 02:00. After a great (& cheap), hearty German meal, Max drove us around town so we could see the sites.
Keen to ramp up the night again, we dropped in at Hate Harry, a typical Hamburg bar not too far from where we had dinner in St Pauli. Hate Harry is an ode to music, and Rock ‘n’ Roll in particular. After a couple of beers and a free “mystery” shot from the bartender we were ready to hit PAL to get our German techno on.
We rounded off the weekend with a Sunday morning coffee around the corner from Hate Harry at Deathpresso. Besides an extensive coffee menu with a huge variety of their own beans, deathpresso have great merchandise and Max and I had to get ourselves some espresso cups.
After a great weekend we were heading back to Amsterdam having truly experienced a great coffee culture. Hamburg is grime and hip in equal measures, with a charm that makes it one of our favourite cities in Europe.
Daniel (& Max)