Nuremberg, a lively city in southern Germany, has become a popular destination known for its vibrant Christmas Market, impressive medieval castle, and hearty restaurants serving delicious local beer and sausages. It’s an ancient city with a history spanning nearly 1,000 years, experiencing distinct developments while preserving its artisanal heritage through guilds and merchants. This heritage made it a crucial stop on trade routes between southern and northern Europe, leading to the city changing hands multiple times under different empires and monarchies.
Most people recognize the name Nuremberg from history books, both during World War II—when almost 90% of its buildings destroyed in air raids—and for famous trials that took place here immediately following the war. Today, the city’s medieval center has been meticulously restored, thanks to preservation and conservation efforts. Many German cities have a central area enclosed by a road, commonly referred to as “the ring,” but here visitors can instead enter the old town through the intact enclosing wall and seven gates dating back to the 16th century.
Modern Nuremberg embraces its rich cultural heritage by celebrating notable residents such as painter and printmaker Albrecht Dürer, and poet and playwright Hans Sachs, who was immortalized in Richard Wagner’s opera, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. The influx of tourists has also contributed to the development of a thriving food scene, with numerous coffee roasters, and breweries that adhere to Bavarian laws established over 500 years ago.
One of the city’s biggest draws is the Christmas Market, attracting millions of visitors each year as one of Europe’s largest and most renowned markets. True to its artisanal roots, Nuremberg offers a range of local specialties like lebkuchen or gingerbread, and Nürnberger Bratwürste that visitors simply can’t miss. And along the way, a handful of destinations for outstanding coffee.
Established in 2008 as a small two-person coffee roastery, Machhörndl Kaffee has been an embodiment of Armin Machhörndl’s unwavering dedication to specialty coffees. Machhörndl, a two-time German Brewers Cup champion, pursues his lifelong passion through sharing his coffee with the community. Machhörndl distinguishes itself by constantly embracing flavor and complexity, seeking exceptional coffees from around the globe.
Machhörndl employs a gentle and light roasting approach. The initial modest roastery has since evolved into a team of 15, supplementing their original 5kg Probat drum roaster with a 25kg model. In 2014, they expanded their operations by establishing a cafe in downtown Nuremberg. Since 2019, their third location has not only been renowned for its exceptional coffee but also for its high-quality baked goods served across all their three cafes.
During the visit to one of their locations, it was clear that customers visited not just for the excellent coffee brewed on La Marzocco and Slayer machines, but also to replenish their stock at home. Friendly baristas are happy to offer suggestions, as there is a large choice of beans sourced from various regions, accompanied by recommended brewing methods.The roastery hums with excitement, with expansive windows providing glimpses of the roasting and packaging processes, letting visitors catch a glimpse into the operations. The ample seating options include indoor and outdoor, making Machhörndl a must for any coffee pilgrim.
Espressolab is a roastery with three cafe locations, each one taking pride in the pursuit of a perfect cup of coffee, an ongoing process of continuous learning, optimization, and self-improvement.
In October 2018, Espressolab opened its first location just outside of the ring in the north part of Nuremberg. The charming brick building offers plenty of room with seating inside and outside for a relaxing break. Their two other locations are north and south of the Pegnitz river in the city center, just a short walk from many of the top attractions. Their mobile coffee truck also frequently makes appearances at local events, outfitted with a complete espresso bar.
Espressolab sources their coffee from various regions worldwide, spanning Costa Rica to Indonesia. Across their multiple locations, they offer an extensive array of drinks on their Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machines as well as seasonal beverages, including cold brew which is not too common yet in Germany. Creative presentation techniques are utilized, such as serving drinks in beakers, to complement their lab theme. The cafes also serve lunches with full table service, including toasts and granola, numerous pastries, and all the coffee gear one could want to supply their own coffee bar at home.
Rösttrommel has established itself as a destination of choice for coffee enthusiasts, operating four locations around the city, and priding itself on their meticulous roasting and brewing processes since opening in 2010. They’re dedicated to providing a memorable coffee experience by offering an array of pour-overs options for their house-roasted coffee, using methods like AeroPress, Chemex, and Hario as well as offering multiple espresso options.
Sustainability is a core value for Rösttrommel. When purchasing green coffee, the cafe prioritizes building long-term relationships with importers and farmers, promoting transparency in the supply chain. The goal is to work closely with the same farms or cooperatives year after year, benefiting everyone involved. Rösttrommel also emphasizes supporting local businesses by sourcing ingredients such as gingerbread, milk, cheese, sausage, and jams from Nuremberg-based suppliers and promoting eco-conscious packaging.
They operate four cafes with three in Nuremberg and one in the nearby city of Erlangen. Rösttrommel’s roastery and school is next to the Kulturwerkstatt Auf AEG, a cultural hub for concerts and courses. Rösttrommel additionally provides a variety of courses at their coffee school led by their own team of trainers including with students having the chance to work with top of the line equipment to further their skills. The cafe’s inviting ambiance is complemented by its seating options, catering to various preferences of cozy tables, street-seating, or a lush garden.
XOCO Café is a charming family-owned shop, created out of a deep love for coffee and chocolate. The shop opened in 2019, and is located just a brief walk from the main train station. Their goal is to share their roasted coffees and homemade chocolates with the world, one coffee and chocolate bar at a time.
Co-founder Osvaldo Reyes Sierra was born in Mexico, and he brings his expertise and knowledge of the best coffee and chocolate growing regions across Latin America to Xoco. His skills as a roaster and chocolatier make their offerings truly exceptional while his wife, Susanne Reyes Sierra, helps manage operations and keeps everything running smoothly.
Located near Nuremberg’s Handwerkerhof, a medieval styled shopping area, XOCO Café provides a cozy indoor setting and street seating, perfect for people-watching. The cafe’s vibrant Mexican-inspired interior is adorned with colorful decorations, including a La San Marco Preziosa espresso machine with a fully chromed and hammered exterior.
At XOCO Café, visitors can experience a variety of hot chocolate flavors, such as curry, cardamom, and coconut. Creative chocolate bars that feature nuts and fruits to create unique combinations are available for purchase, along with their coffee. For those looking for a snack, empanadas, cakes, and paletas from Berlin are also on offer. XOCO Café stands out not only for its treats but also for the warm family atmosphere. You can’t help but love this place.
In 2010, Jörg Scheuffler embarked on his coffee roasting mission, eventually establishing BERGBRAND, a renowned roastery and cafe in Nuremberg’s historic district. Today, Bergbrand boasts a diverse selection of seven espresso and seven filter coffee varieties. For those eager to recreate the experience at home, their online shop offers a spectrum of options for espresso, and filter coffee, along with brewing guidelines. Nestled near Halletor with indoor and outdoor seating, it’s a perfect pause when visiting the older parts of the city.
Scheuffler’s commitment to sourcing only the best green coffee from the regions of Central America, Ethiopia, and Kenya, aligns with his core values: sustainable organic cultivation, fair trade, and uncompromising quality. Each Bergbrand coffee variety undergoes a precise roasting profile refinement, ensuring its unique character is present. Freshness is paramount, as coffee is roasted on demand.
The Bergbrand experience extends beyond coffee enthusiasts, gaining favor among gastronomic circles. Scheuffler’s dedication to his values reflects his desire to share not only high quality standards but also sustainable, ecologically conscious practices with a broader audience. Bergbrand patrons contribute to conservation efforts with each sip, as 50 cents per kilogram of coffee aids various nature and species protection projects annually. Notably, Scheuffler’s recent involvement in supporting red pandas in Nepal underscores his commitment to environmental well-being.
Nikita Solberg is a coffee professional and freelance journalist based in Leipzig. Read more Nikita Solberg for Sprudge.