19grams Schlesi

The bottom of my coffee cup at 19grams Schlesi in Berlin, having finished a double espresso to reveal the slogan "Bloody Good Coffee".Returning to Berlin for the first time with my Coffee Spot hat on, I was spoilt for choice. In truth, any of the wonderful places I visited could have graced my first Berlin Coffee Spot, but it really pleases me to feature 19grams, which began life as Tres Cabezas in 2002. I wanted to visit the original Tres Cabezas on Boxhagener Straße in Friedrichshain, but when I popped by on Sunday, it was being renovated. Instead, I walked across the Spree on the wonderful Oberbaum Bridge to Kreuzberg and 19grams Schlesi, around the corner on Schlesische Straße.

This is a lovely spot, with a bright, airy front room, where you’ll find the counter, and a cool, airy back room, which shares the space with the open kitchen. Alternatively, you can sit outside at one of five tables on the pavement next to the noisy street. The draw, of course, is the coffee, with 19grams offering two options on espresso (one for black drinks, the other to go with milk), plus batch brew filter, the coffee, all roasted in-house, changing on a regular basis. However, the food is just as good, the small brunch menu and sharing plates cooked to order.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • 19grams, on the north side of Schlesische Straße in Kreuzberg.
  • It actually has quite a small front, just the two recessed windows and central pillar.
  • There's plenty of outside seating though. This is one of four tables in front of the...
  • ... windows, while there's another one (the fifth) by the edge of the street.
  • The A-board tells you everything you need to know...
  • ... while the pillar between the windows just has the opening hours.
  • The door is to the right of the central pillar. Let's go in.
  • The front of 19grams, as seen from the back, bathed in the afternoon sun.
  • The tables start at the front, to the left of the door.
  • There are four two-person tables in all, which can be grouped as you like.
  • There's a round, four-person table in the window to the right of the door...
  • ... with more tables along the right-hand wall.
  • These end with a solitary two-person table against the back wall.
  • The counter, meanwhile, is at the back on the left, while an opening in the back wall...
  • ... leads to a second space, with tables running down the right-hand wall.
  • There's a sofa in the corner on the left...
  • ... while a corridor continues down the right-hand wall...
  • ... past this lovely, open-faced room with its 10-person communal table, ideal for groups.
  • It's worth a second look!
  • Turning around, this is the view back towards the front of 19grams...
  • ... with the open kitchen, where all the wonderful food is cooked.
  • 19grams has a set of retail shelves next to the counter on the left-hand wall.
  • It's packed full of bags of coffee. This is the current choice for espresso with milk...
  • ... while these are some of the filter options.
  • In between the two is some coffee kit.
  • Coffee worth looking up to!
  • There are original works of art being exhibited at 19grams.
  • One of the pictures in more detail. They are by the artist...
  • ... Phoebe Kim. Click on the picture for more details.
  • To business. You'll find a QR Code which leads to the online menu on each table.
  • Once you've chosen, head up to the counter to order.
  • The till is at the far end, next to the cakes.
  • These are worth a second look...
  • ... while the A-board lists the options.
  • If you can't get the QR Code to work, there is a printed menu on the counter...
  • ... with food on the other side.
  • The online menu for comparison.
  • Once you've ordered, feel free to grab a bottle of water to take back to your table...
  • ... which is exactly what I did.
  • A short while later, my Bacon Brioche arrived.
  • The Bacon Brioche in more detail (with mushroom instead of bacon).
  • I also ordered sourdough toast which was as good as it looks.
  • Of course, there was coffee, a double espresso in an oversized cup.
  • This was awesome, by the way, although I'll leave you...
  • ... with the bottom of my cup, which is no word of a lie!
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There’s a synchronicity to my first Coffee Spot featuring 19grams. I came to Berlin by train, Eurostar to Brussels, then a pair of ICE trains onwards to Berlin. It was my first time on Eurostar since 2018, when I went to Amsterdam to attend the World of Coffee, where I first met the 19grams team. We caught up again in 2019 at London Coffee Festival, where I was very impressed with an espresso made with a naturally-processed Costa Rican Geisha. Naturally, I was keen to try more of 19grams’ excellent coffee on my return to Berlin.

19grams Schlesi started life five years ago in the smaller unit next door to its currently location, moving just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. From the street, there doesn’t seem to be much to it, just tall, narrow windows recessed between thick, stone-clad pillars. There are five four-person tables on the pavement, four in front of the windows and one by the road. With 19grams on the north side of the street, these catch the afternoon sun in full.

The entrance is to the right of the central pillar, two broad, concrete steps leading up to the door. This blends seamlessly with one of the tall, narrow windows, which, on the sunny day I was there, was drawn right back, concertina-style. There is a second window to the left of the pillar, but otherwise, that’s it. Inside, however, is a bright, airy space, with the counter at the back on the left, and the seating arranged along the front and down the right-hand wall.

To the left of the door, four two-person tables occupy the window opposite the counter, while to the right, a round, four-person table sits in window. Behind the round table, along the right-hand wall, are a pair of two-person tables, followed by three two-person tables and, right at the back, a solitary two-person table.

However, that’s not all. A broad opening in the back wall, just to the right of the counter, leads to the second space. This goes a long way back, with the open kitchen on the left and a row of tables on the right, five in all, three two-person and two four-person. There’s also a sofa in the left-hand corner at the back, just beyond the kitchen. Finally, a corridor continues along the right-hand wall to the toilets, leading past on a large, open space with a 10-person communal table.

You order at the counter, where you’ll find the till at the left-hand end, next to retail shelves packed with bags of coffee on the left-hand wall. The cakes are also down here and, while there is a printed menu on the counter-top, you’re encouraged to scan a QR Code (there’s one on each table) and view the menu online.

I’d come for lunch, arriving just in time, since the kitchen closes at 16:00. I had the superb Bacon Brioche (with coffee-roasted mushrooms instead of the coffee-cure bacon) to which I added a poached egg. I also ordered a side of sourdough toast, which can sometimes be disappointing, although this was anything but, crisp and crunchy, the perfect foil for my Bacon Brioche.

And, of course, there was coffee. During my visit, the espresso options were the Wild At Heart blend for milk-based drinks, the Migu Anaerobic Natural from China for black espresso drinks and the Ethiopia Bombe Natural on batch brew. Remembering the espresso from the London Coffee Festival, I went for a double espresso here. Served in an oversized cup, it was awesome, smooth and well-balanced, the perfect welcome back to Berlin.

SCHLESISCHE STRAßE 38 • 10997 BERLIN • GERMANY
19grams.coffee +49 (0) 30 5266 9796
Monday 08:00 – 18:00 Roaster 19grams (espresso + batch brew)
Tuesday 08:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 18:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 18:00 Payment Card Only
Saturday 10:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free
Sunday 10:00 – 18:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 8th May 2022

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