You might not think of specialty coffee when thinking about Frankfurt. For many, tourists and businesspeople alike, the airport, the skyline, the stock exchange, the Frankfurt Trade Fair, and the banking district are all Frankfurt is known for. A small but growing specialty coffee scene is evolving in the past couple years nevertheless.
Coffee is hardly new to Frankfurt’s inhabitants, though. Frankfurt “grew up” with two very traditional roasters: Wacker's Kaffee, opened in 1914, and Wissmüller, founded in 1948, are two iconic roasters served at restaurants and cafes throughout the city. Viennese-style coffee houses, like Caféhaus Siesmayer located at Frankfurt’s Palmengarten, a huge botanical garden in the city center, serve German cake and coffee (and also Frankfurt specialty “Frankfurter Kranz”) to this day. And almost every one of the museums located along the Main riverside also has its own cafe that invites visitors for cake and coffee after their museum tour.
The international community in Frankfurt is to thank for opening the city's doors to specialty coffee. Frankfurt’s coffee drinkers are curious and keen to try new coffees and brewing methods at places like Brühmarkt, Hoppenworth & Ploch, Aniis, and The Holy Cross Brewing Society.
Three cafes, three ladies. Natalia Konstantinova, Yulia Yanyuk, and Esther Gossmann are the three owners of the three Kaffeewerk Espressionist shops. Their newest shop, Brühmarkt, opened in October in Bockenheim—largely a students district, since Frankfurt’s Goethe University is located there. Brühmarkt is focused on filter coffee, as the name suggests to the visitor. The menu and several blackboards—giving an overview of the aroma profiles of each coffee served—invite the specialty coffee lover to try coffees from their huge variety of filter coffee equipment, like Kalita Wave, Chemex, V60, and syphon. The shop showcases coffee beans from around the world, like those roasted by Johannes Bayer of Munich, Quijote of Hamburg, Backyard Coffee from Frankfurt’s roaster Wolfram Sorg, and Tim Wendleboe of Oslo, Norway.
Both coffee beans and filter equipment are displayed on large wooden shelves inside of the cafe. “Even if it is not on our menu, you can try every coffee brewed with any equipment we sell,” says Grossmann. The espresso-fancying coffee drinker still gets their caffeine kick here—freshly ground with a Mahlkönig K30 Twin, espresso is made on a La Marzocco Strada EP sitting in the middle of the counter, surrounded by delicious sweets and pastries from a local patisserie. Several breakfast options await the hungry visitor as well—mainly students and Bockenheim residents—in the morning.
Hoppenworth & Ploch
Matthias Hoppenworth and Julian Ploch are the trailblazers of specialty coffee in Frankfurt. Opening their first cafe on Goethe University of Frankfurt’s Westend campus in 2008, they started roasting coffee a couple years later and opened their second shop, a coffee roastery with a cafe in Frankfurt’s hip Nordend, in May 2014. This, too, was something totally new for Frankfurt’s coffee fans, with its huge wooden table right in the middle of the cafe opening one up to interesting conversations with strangers across the table. You can't miss the Probat roaster showcased in the back of the shop as well. Roasting once a week, Hoppenworth and Ploch import their beans directly from origin. Some of their carefully roasted coffee—”We roast as light as possible,” says Hoppenworth—has been used by German baristas in several championships, including just recently at the Brewers Cup in Munich last November.
In cold winter temperatures, visitors of “Hopplo”, as everyone in Frankfurt fondly calls the cafe, opt for cappuccinos and flat whites made with a La Marzocco Linea Classic alongside (mostly V60-brewed) filter coffees. The open counter with the Linea, an Über Boiler, and a Mahlkönig grinder invites the visitor to take part in the brewing and making of his or her coffee drink. The homemade waffles add a nice smell to the atmosphere and a delicious taste to the coffee served at Hopplo. An interesting addition to the coffee menu is a Japanese matcha, prepared in the traditional style.
Located in Frankfurt’s booming Ostend district, just around the corner from the new European Central Bank, Aniis is one of the younger specialty coffee shops in Frankfurt. The cafe's name is lent from a Moroccan phrase for “good friend or companion,” Rachid El Ofairi, the owner, tells me. And you can feel exactly that; the hospitality and friendliness that is served with every cup of coffee either filter brewed with V60 and AeroPress or pulled from the La Marzocco Linea PB for milk beverages. A Mahlkönig EK 43 and two Anfim grinders prepare the coffee beans from Johannes Bayer and Backyard Coffee. But, Aniis is not just a good place for specialty coffee, it is the place for delicious homemade food, be it either the homemade cakes, or the various Moroccan delicacies like hummus, zahluk, couscous salad, and more that are prepared freshly every day. For the breakfast lover, homemade jam can be added to that list as well. Moroccan-style mint tea and Prana Chai are among the tea options served at Aniis.
The shop itself—the industrial style, the design, and interiors—is all based on El Ofairi’s creativity; you can’t miss the huge photo on the wall exclusively designed for this place of Spanish artist Antonio Mora. Aniis is one of those few places where you can not only feel the passion for coffee, but the personality of its owner.
The Holy Cross Brewing Society
This place with the long name is Frankfurt’s newest spot for specialty coffee—just opened in December and located in the city center close to the Main River and the dome. The interior of the shop is highlighted by black and white details like bricks and tiles on the walls, the tables, stools, and lamps; an industrial style inspired by old train stations. The location itself is a wide space with an almost round counter style that you might have seen in some specialty coffee places in London or the North American West Coast before, but not in Frankfurt. The U-shaped bar showcases not only homemade cakes and some sweets, but also a customized Kees van der Westen Spirit and Mahlkönig EK 43 and Mazzer Robur E grinders. The Holy Cross Brewing Society is the new shop of former Kaffeemacherei owners Mathias Stalter and Carla Lutz that were looking for a larger space to serve great specialty coffee from around the world.
Here you can choose from coffee beans roasted by Machhörndl of Nuremberg, Mahlefitz of Munich, Square Mile Coffee Roasters of London, Hoppenworth & Ploch, Backyard Coffee, and The Barn of Berlin. This wide variety can be tried either as espresso-based coffee drinks or brewed with V60, Kalita, and AeroPress. Statler tells me: “Our guests should be able to benefit from the varieties in aroma and flavor; we would like them to try new coffees more often.” While you're here, flip through the latest issues of Standart and Drift, stylish magazines which focus on the world of coffee.
Melanie Böhme is a freelance journalist based in Frankfurt, Germany. Read more Melanie Böhme on Sprudge.