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Off to Westberlin

©, Foto: Jürgen Hohmuth

For my next coffee I am drawn to Westberlin. Just four weeks ago, architect Kai Bröer and April Melnick, who learned her barista trade in Portland, opened a coffee bar two blocks south of Checkpoint Charlie. As soon as I leave the Kochstraße U-Bahn station, I am greeted by the huge window with the green and yellow lettering. Situated between a €1 shop and a used book store, the bright Westberlin stands out like a museum café. It is relatively empty and I take a seat at one of the white, round tables.

Even if light roasts and classic filter coffee are on the menu here, the Westberlin does not ooze retro café charm, as I had initially expected: From the warm grey ceiling, numerous spotlights shine down on the white café space. A lattice construction of light wood spans the counter. Next to the coffee equipment here are heavenly-looking cakes and pastries. The media shop sets itself apart with a wall-sized illuminated photograph by Boris Kralj, showing an endless façade of the neighbourhood. And small glass ball lamps are placed everywhere adding coloured accents to the space. I'm so distracted by the fine selection of national and international magazines covering architecture, design, fashion and art that I forget to watch the barista's art.

The beans come all the way from Stockholm and are specially refined at Berlin's Five Elephant roasters. It tastes good to me, and I continue to rummage through the guides, architecture books, novels, and other nice things laying on the table. Finally, I talk to the manager: It was the New York "news BAR" on 18th Street at Fifth Avenue with its combination of coffee, bagels, muffins and trendy magazines that inspired his café. I have to say I love the successful implementation of an actually quite obvious combination and wonder if there will be something to read at my next coffee stop as well. At least they have an aeropress at The Barn...

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