The city of Dresden, Germany is known as the “Florence on the Elbe,” and in modern times it exudes a captivating blend of history and beauty. Its roots stretch back to the Stone Age, nestled along the Elbe River’s banks, with formal records first mentioning it in 1206. Through the ages, Dresden’s significance grew as it progressed from the Holy Roman Empire to the Kingdom of Saxony and today’s Free State of Saxony.

Many know Dresden today for its place in World War II history, when the city’s baroque center experienced near-total destruction in a series of Allied air raids. During the post-war era Dresden was part of East Germany, whose leadership removed the ruins and built modern structures in their place. Dresden endured, and a profound rebirth commenced after the reunification of Germany.

Today, Dresden serves as a poignant symbol of resilience and renewal. Precious landmarks like the Frauenkirche, Zwinger palace complex, and Semperoper were painstakingly restored, reviving the city’s status as a cultural haven. Its baroque architecture, scenic river vistas, and lively neighborhoods effortlessly merge old-world charm with contemporary vitality.

Dresden’s allure extends beyond its architecture; it thrives in its ambiance and charm. Visitors can dive into the city’s history, indulge in art and music, and savor culinary delights. From the famed Staatskapelle orchestra to the historic Striezelmarkt Christmas Market, Dresden offers multiple cultural treasures. Culinary traditions shine with Christmas Stollen, Eierschecke, similar to cheesecake, and Sauerbraten, tender beef steeped in vinegar and beer, served with red cabbage and bread dumplings.

In 1755, Johann Joachim Winckelmann proclaimed, “Dresden—where beauty was invented.” Dresden isn’t just a city; it’s a living testament to the enduring spirit of resilience and beauty. Here, history and modernity coexist seamlessly, inviting visitors to appreciate its rich past and embrace its timeless charm. And of course, there’s beautiful coffee to go alongside it all.

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Cross River Coffee

Cross River Coffee, located in the picturesque Löbtau district of western Dresden, is a cafe and roastery offering a special blend of coffee and vegan delights. With a generous indoor space in view of the roaster, and the option for outdoor seating on sunny days, it’s a lovely spot to unwind.

Their coffee is anything but ordinary—they roast their beans at least once a week, ensuring a fresh and aromatic cup every time. What sets Cross River Coffee apart is their commitment to ethical coffee sourcing. They directly support coffee farmers in Northwest Cameroon by paying fair prices and implementing various projects to uplift the farming families. Founded by Wilson Tanto, who hails from the same region, the cafe embodies the spirit of fairness and sustainability.

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The name “Cross River Coffee” not only represents their fair trade coffee but also draws attention to the plight of the Cross River gorilla, found in the border area between Nigeria and Cameroon. Their values encompass direct trade, fair payment, transparency, knowledge sharing, support for disadvantaged producers, and environmental protection.

Cross River Coffee opens its doors every day except Wednesdays, serving up not just exceptional coffee but a commitment to making the world of coffee a better place.

Cross River Coffee is located at Rudolf-Renner-Straße 36, 01159 Dresden. Visit their official website and follow them on Instagram.

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Established in 2015, Kaffanero, a coffee roastery and cafe tucked away in an industrial park in Dresden, is a hidden gem for coffee enthusiasts. Kaffanero takes pride in offering an extensive selection of coffee beans from various global regions. Roasting their beans gently allows the individual flavors to flourish and eliminates bitterness, resulting in a smooth coffee experience.

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Kaffanero is unique in its focus on single-origin coffees, each sourced from a specific region to showcase the special characteristics of that area’s coffee. This emphasis on pure, unblended coffee lets patrons explore the distinct flavors associated with different coffee-growing regions around the world. The cafe provides a welcoming atmosphere, suitable for friends catching up or business meetings. Besides coffee, they serve delicious cakes from the local favorite Morenz bakery.

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Kaffanero’s team is passionate about coffee and takes the time to share their knowledge and assist customers in finding the perfect brew. Their logo, featuring a hummingbird with a coffee bean body, embodies the love, tradition, and exceptional taste that define their brand. The name “Kaffanero” itself holds historical significance, tracing back to Ethiopian monks from the Kaffa region who were believed to have discovered the effects of coffee in the 15th century. The term “Nero” refers to black in Italian or strong in Greek, underscoring the essence of coffee.

Kaffanero is located at Rosenstraße 92, 01159 Dresden. Visit their official website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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Moka Café

Moka Café, nestled in Dresden’s Altstadt, offers a cozy and charming corner cafe experience. With a Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine at its heart, Moka showcases its dedication to quality with espresso standards and seasonal specials. One highlight of their innovative menu are their Wunderblume botanical lattes from Berlin. These lattes, featuring adaptogens, roots, medicinal mushrooms, and regional herbs, are a delicious alternative to regular espresso favorites.

They source their coffee from Wildkaffee, a roaster from Garmisch-Partenkirchen in southern Germany, to ensure a delightful brew. Moka features both Wildkaffe’s regular line, as well as their organic and Demeter-certified Farmers Voice roasts. Situated just a short stroll from the Dresden Mitte train station and the renowned Zwinger palatial complex, it’s easily accessible for those exploring the city.

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Moka’s allure extends beyond its quality drinks with light food, snacks, cakes, and pastries, with many vegan options available. Its calming atmosphere, with seating both indoors and on the street, makes it a noteworthy spot for a pause. Operating from Tuesday to Friday, Moka invites those seeking an excellent cafe experience to savor its quality coffee offerings.

Moka Café is located at Schützengasse 2, 01067 Dresden. VFollow them on Facebook.

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Lucky Cat Coffee

Lucky Cat Coffee is a heavensend for coffee enthusiasts used to the minimalist cafes found in Japan. Founded in 2022 by Henni and Didier, Lucky Cat is all about crafting top-tier specialty coffee with their background hailing from Germany, Canada, and Colombia. They’re passionate about lighter roasts to bring out the beans’ distinct characteristics, resulting in a milder, fruitier flavor profile.

The cafe, with minimalist Japanese-inspired decor, features quality coffee and matcha drinks, and delectable homemade cakes, including unique flavors like matcha or Oreo cheesecake. They also prioritize educating customers about coffee, introducing them to methods like pour-overs, and the nuances of light roasting.

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Henni and Didier’s extensive experience, gained from the coffee scenes in the USA, Canada, and Japan, fuels their passion and they are often found behind the counter. They are committed to developing personal relationships with coffee farmers and ensuring fair treatment. When they purchase beans from importers, Henni and Didier prioritize knowing how fairly the farmers are treated, and sourcing ethically.

The cafe’s name and logo are inspired by the maneki-neko, the “beckoning cat” figurine believed to bring good luck. This emblem adds an intriguing Japanese touch to the cafe’s identity, located on the tree-lined Hauptstraße promenade in Neustadt. It’s open from Wednesday to Sunday, roasting fresh batches on Mondays and Tuesdays. Despite being one of the newest cafes to the scene, this coffee shop and roastery is a must visit for visitors.

Lucky Cat Coffee is located at Hauptstraße 29, 01097 Dresden. Visit their official website and follow them on Instagram.

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Café Oswald

Café Oswaldz, located in Neustadt with an additional summer cafe near Schloss Albrechtsberg on the Elbe, was one of the first contributors to the specialty coffee scene in Dresden. Sporting a La Marzocco espresso machine and brewing Phoenix Roasters coffee, its accessible location makes it a perfect stop for travelers ending their journey at the Dresden-Neustadt train station.

Its versatile menu features sandwiches, beer, wine, and creative cakes, and fills up quickly with patrons. Indoors, the cafe exudes a lovely ambiance, while street seating beckons passersby. The lush garden seating adorned with climbing vines and colorful tables adds to its charm.

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Open seven days a week, Café Oswaldz operates on a first-come, first-served basis with crowds of friendly faces often filling the space quickly. Café Oswaldz is renowned for its delightful pies, seasonal sandwiches, and creative cakes

Vineeth Surendranath, originally from India, co-founded the cafe in September 2013 with Kai Lässig and Petra van de Loo. Their aim was to create a welcoming space, and over the years, it has become a beloved part of Dresden’s daily life. The cafe also doubles as a small gallery, showcasing artwork by local artists and students from Dresden University.

Café Oswaldz is located at Bautzner Str. 9, 01099 Dresden. Visit their official website and follow them on Instagram.

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Kawa Espressobar

Kawa Espressobar, with two vibrant locations, stands out with its colorful aesthetics and family-friendly atmosphere. While one is a standalone near Bischofsplatz in Neustadt, their other location is partnered with the vegan restaurant DerDickeSchmidt near Albertplatz in Neustadt. The cafe’s cheerful décor, adorned with large acrylic letters, reflects its commitment to a bright and inviting environment. Kawa was established in 2019 by founder Schadi Kor Ali, who studied graphic design in Leipzig before bringing his passion for coffee to Dresden.

Kawa proudly serves Passenger Coffee from Berlin. This coffee is known for its mild, smooth, nutty flavor, a taste that Schadi sought to bring to Dresden. One standout aspect from Kawa is its diverse menu, which includes seasonal favorites like cold brew, as well as wine, beer, and delectable cakes, including classics like their renowned carrot cake. Their Bischofsplatz location enjoys a spacious and energetic outdoor seating area, making it a popular spot.

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Open seven days a week, Kawa ensures that coffee enthusiasts and families alike can enjoy its warm and inviting space. Its commitment to quality coffee and a lively atmosphere has made it a standout destination and prime contribution to Dresden’s specialty coffee scene.

Kawa Espressobar is located at Hechtstraße 7, 01097 Dresden. Follow them on Instagram.

Nikita Solberg is a coffee professional and freelance journalist based in Leipzig. Read more Nikita Solberg for Sprudge.

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