Neukölln’s café culture has come a long way in recent years, with a renewed focus on quality and a plethora of coffee shops serving a selection of freshly brewed coffees, lattes and cappuccinos in stylish surroundings.
Home to one of the largest immigrant populations in Berlin, rapidly growing Neukölln is a neighbourhood in flux. Culture Trip travelled to CAMON on Sonnenallee to talk to founder Nicole Peltzer about her third-wave coffee creations, delicious cakes and where she likes to go for a brew. This list will guide you through the best cafés and coffee shops in Neukölln, from local favourites to lesser-known haunts.
There’s no better way to start the day in Neukölln than at ultra-minimalist café CAMON. Founder Peltzer appreciates the diversity of the neighbourhood and of her customers, stating: “It’s a place where a number of students, artists, musicians and young professionals converge with blue-collar workers and families from over 160 countries.” Which is why she has established the goal of creating a space where the community can come together and “enjoy life’s simple pleasures like coffee and home-made food”. Coffee aficionados should try the house blend, which is roasted especially for CAMON by Ernst Kaffeeröster. Peltzer describes it as “sweet with a full body, and it works well with milk”. To eat, there is an all-organic breakfast and brunch menu and delectable vegan peanut-butter cookies.
Hosting art exhibitions and helmed by perhaps the friendliest staff in Neukölln, Café Ohne Titel is just as much a meeting spot as it is a purveyor of coffee. Its pear cake, chocolate mousse and apple cake all work to make our lives that little bit sweeter. And just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you should miss out – the likes of blubbery muffins and pecan cake get the vegan treatment. Peer through the large windows while enjoying your brew – they seem to have been made for people-watching.
Hallman and Klee’s modernist café is the perfect spot for a late-morning or early-afternoon pick-me-up in Neukölln, with espressos prepared by very capable baristas. Its first-class breakfast menu has landed the place a spot on Peltzer’s recommended list of cafés in Neukölln and, as she explains, it has “good variety and classics, home-made bread and a very nice and spacious place to hang out, even with a bigger group of friends”. If you have a sweet tooth, make sure to try to the blueberry and hazelnut pancakes drizzled with maple syrup – they’re the best in town!
Tucked away on a quiet street, Home is quite possibly the quintessential neighbourhood café. The ambience is modest and relaxed, which reflects its New Zealand-born owner Sarah Flanigan. Speciality coffee is served with creamy milk and quality beans from all over the world: Entre Ríos beans from Costa Rica, supplied by Barcelona’s Nømad Coffee, and Gatare beans from Rwanda, supplied by Bratislava’s Goriffee. And for those feeling a little peckish, crumbly scones, cakes, jams and kimchi are sure to satisfy your appetite.
There are a few things in life that make getting out of bed as enticing as the “good coffee, variety of home-made baked goods and friendly service at Katie’s Blue Cat”, according to CAMON’s Peltzer. With beans by Bonanza Coffee Roasters, Katie’s is one of the finest cafés around. Founders Ngoc Duong and Olivia Wood had the dream of opening a café that specialised in “Anglophone baking”, and now they have done just that; think pies, shortbread, crumpets and tarts, as well as vegan, gluten-free and reduced-sugar options. The interior, reminiscent of a hip Brooklyn coffee shop, is pretty special, too.
With an assortment of cakes, croissants and sandwiches, the LGBTQ-friendly K-Fetisch offers a retreat from routine coffee-shop stops. Step into a display of vintage sofas, plush chairs and board games, and take in the wafting scent of coffee in the air. Creating a barrier-free space is of utmost importance to the founders – a guarantee that extends to the café’s prices, with a shot of espresso costing just €1.80 (£1.50). Once you’ve had your caffeine fix, peruse the bookshelf or attend one of the monthly film screenings.
Refugio Café is a unique spot run by friendly volunteers from Israel, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Australia and New Zealand. With the shared goal of providing community, support and a home for refugees, all proceeds made from the café go to the refugee charity Refugio. The café is decked out in warm greens with high ceilings, which lends a homey, humble atmosphere. Settle down your laptop and indulge in a slice of cake and speciality coffee made from selected beans by Kaffee 9.
Roamers serves well-prepared espressos, Chemex drip coffee and house-made chai tea lattes in a cosy, vibrant café setting. Expect a space filled with colourful plants, suitcases, vintage travel paraphernalia and customers snapping away at their photogenic plates. But don’t let the rustic interior distract you from the fact that Roamers also serves some of the best coffee in town. Using a vintage Elektra machine and organic milk, this café’s coffee is extra creamy – and extra delicious!
Originally a bagel specialist, Two Planets has since been transformed by its new owners into the ultimate coffee shop. The finest beans from El Salvador are roasted here, and double espressos with lightly foamed milk and matcha lattes (which are rarely found in Berlin) are all served by the “two coolest dudes”, claims Peltzer. Have a giggle as you skim through the fresh juices and soy smoothies named after pop icons – the David Hasselhoff, made from banana, peanut butter and oats, is especially good.