Berlin’s has a vibrant and varied speciality coffee scene, with some world-famous roasters, such as Five Elephant, The Barn (both of whom I’ve already written about) and Bonanza Coffee (which will be featuring on the Coffee Spot). At the other end of the scale are the likes of Meier’s – Vietnamese Specialty Coffee, the subject of today’s Coffee Spot.
Meier’s opened in March 2021 in a modest spot on Gormannstraße in Mitte, an area, along with Kreuzberg, which is synonymous with speciality coffee in Berlin. In contrast to Berlin’s many other speciality coffee roaster/coffee shops, as the name suggests, Meier’s – Vietnamese Specialty Coffee deals exclusively in Vietnamese-grown Arabica coffee, roasted for Meier’s by Là Việt, a coffee shop/roaster in the Dalat coffee-growing region of Vietnam, who then air-freights it to Berlin.
Meier’s has a standard espresso menu, using the E1 blend, plus a V60 pour-over offering with a choice of two single-origins, the honey-processed Datanla and the naturally-processed D’Ran during my visit. However, if you’re feeling more adventurous, both single-origins are also available through the cà phê phin, the traditional Vietnamese cup-top filter. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there’s a small selection of cakes, joined on the weekend by Bao buns.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
I am indebted to European Coffee Trip, my go-to source for all things coffee-related in Europe, for bringing Meier’s – Vietnamese Specialty Coffee to my attention by featuring it in the Berlin City Guide. I have had a strong affinity for Vietnamese speciality coffee ever since I visited Vietnam five years ago in 2017, so I obviously had to visit.
Meier’s occupies a modest shop on Gormannstraße, just south of its junction with Torstraße and a short stroll north of the famous Hackescher Markt. There’s not much to see from the street, just a single, square wood-framed window with the door to the right. Indeed, it’s so small that I couldn’t get a decent photograph because a Smart Car (a two-seat model!) was parked in front. If you want to sit outside on the quiet street, there are three stools with two small round tables in front of the window, but to be honest, you’d be missing out on the lovely interior if you did.
Inside, Meier’s is simplicity itself. A long wooden counter stands at the back, running almost the full width of the coffee shop, ending just short of the left-hand wall. The seating starts to the left of the door, with a pair of small, round tables at a bench in front of the window. Four more of these tables stand along the left-hand wall, which is lined with another two benches and, when it comes to seating, that’s it. The result, with its natural wood and white painted walls, is strikingly beautiful and relaxing.
You order at the counter, with the cakes (and, at weekends, Bao buns) to the left and the striking Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine to the right. Meanwhile, in the middle, you’ll find the simple menu, along with the pour-over set up, the choice of beans to the right, and the V60 and cà phê phin to the left. The coffee is all Vietnamese-grown Arabica, roasted by Là Việt, a company which works closely with Vietnamese coffee farmers. It is then flown from Vietnam to Berlin to ensure its freshness (as an aside, the last time I had coffee from Là Việt was in The Caffinet, a lovely Hanoi coffee shop, right at the end of my trip to Vietnam).
Naturally I had to try a Ca Phe Phin, opting for the D’Ran, a naturally-processed coffee. I was fascinated to watch the preparation, which was very different from how I had seen the cà phê phin being used in speciality coffee shops in Vietnam. There the coffee was ground very finely, with long extraction times, but here a coarser grind was used (more like for a cafetiere) while the ratio was also different (200 ml of water to 20 grams of coffee).
The extraction was fairly slow though, taking 3½ minutes, the resulting coffee more akin to a traditional filter, albeit with a little more body. It was lovely, though, very smooth and drinkable, although chatting to the owner afterwards, she told me that this confuses those expecting a more traditional Vietnamese coffee (which is usually made with a very dark-roast Robusta). She also makes a cà phê sữa, which is served with condensed milk. Typically this is served with 40% condensed milk in Vietnam, but here it is just 10% so that it doesn’t overwhelm the coffee.
Naturally I had to buy a bag of the D’Ran to take home with me and I left Meier’s – Vietnamese Specialiy Coffee with a parting gift: a bag of Agaro Duromina, a washed coffee from Ethiopia that I’d bought at Flight Coffee of Dover.
|GORMANNSTRAßE 16 • 10119 BERLIN • GERMANY|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:00||Roaster||La Viet (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables; Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:00||Food||Cake, Boa (weekends only)|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 17:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||10:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||10:00 – 17:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||14th May 2022|
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