Not all who wander are lost

Louise Cusine presents us the unique atmosphere of some of the loveliest coffee shops in Berlin.

Louise Cusine
27th October 2021
Image credit: Louise Cusine
When I moved to Berlin alone in August, the hustle culture on the S-Bahn felt overwhelming. I heard the words: nächster Halt Warschauer Straße, Ausstieg in Fahrtrichtung rechts (next stop Warschauer Straße, leave on the right) and I didn’t know where to go – it was the perks of being spontaneous, but it also left me feeling disorientated and indecisive. Little did I know that the discomfort of feeling lost would soon be exchanged for the daily comfort of following the various S-Bahn lines, getting off at random stops along the way and discovering Berlin’s speciality coffee scene. Let me take you along for the ride:

Nächster Halt Warschauer Straße. Fine Bagels is a Jewish-American café. This café’s motto is Lign in d’rerd un bakn beygl! (lie on the floor and bake). Whilst my baking skills are not so refined, I would lie on the floor and sleep there if I could…It’s the perfect spot for booklovers since its connected to Shakespeare and Sons bookstore (Lord of the Flies meets Lord of the Coffee Beans!). My favourite pastime is going to a café with a paperback, and Fine Bagels enhanced this experience with its delicious cinnamon babkas and iced coffees, so it became my primary reading nook in Berlin.

Image credit: Louise Cusine

Nächster Halt Hackescher Markt. House of Small Wonder is a café that has been inspired by Japanese cuisine and I’m a big fan of it, especially its brunch all day – wonderful stuff. It’s an enchanting café that provides nature admirers with serotonin en masse. I don’t have plants in my uni dorm, but I still appreciated the plants, trees and wisteria that made this place so whimsical.

Image credit: Louise Cusine

Nächster Halt Julius-Leber-Brücke. Unser Café is a Portuguese bakery, in other words pastel de nata heaven. Pastéis de nata are Portuguese egg custard tarts, usually dusted with cinnamon, but this café in Berlin offers a variety of flavours: blueberry, banana, chocolate etc. It was the perfect place to stop for a coffee break after a pleasant stroll through Viktoriapark (which has some of the best views of Berlin).

...just a few euros for a coffee, and it transformed into a home away from home...

Ultimately, Berlin’s speciality coffee scene was an embrace of all my senses. It was the smell of espresso and baked goods as soon as I entered. It was the sound of the French press while I was waiting for my caffeinated concoction. It was the flicking through of the pages of the books on display whilst I was waiting. It was the sound of the lo-fi Spotify playlists whilst I was stirring my iced coffee. It was the light-hearted chatter and smiles from a friend who I had not met up with in months. It was an intimate and personal space of reflection for me – a space that I wasn’t paying rent for; just a few euros for a coffee, and it transformed into a home away from home.

Louise Cusine

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