When I was in Berlin last month, one of the highlights of my weekend exploration of the city’s speciality coffee scene was Bonanza Coffee Gendarmenmarkt. I spent the following day, a Sunday, strolling around Kreuzberg, arguably the birthplace of Berlin’s speciality coffee scene, where I popped by the Bonanza Coffee Roastery, which doubles as a lovely coffee shop. Well, I say “popped by”, but that understates the deliberate nature of my visit. Tucked away in a large courtyard, accessed down a long road from Adalbertstraße, the Bonanza Roastery is not somewhere you’d stumble across, or, indeed “pop by”, unless you already knew it was there.
It’s a lovely spot, quiet and sheltered, with plenty of outdoor seating and even more inside, where the coffee shop, at the front, shares the space with the roastery at the back. It was also incredibly popular and my original plan, which had been to write it up as a Coffee Spot, went out of the window almost immediately. However, I noticed something that I always love to see on the menu: a filter tasting flight. That, I thought, will make an excellent subject for a Saturday Supplement. And you know what? I was right!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The Bonanza Coffee Roastery is not the easiest place to find. The entrance is next to the Kinderbauernhof Am Mauerplatz (a children’s farm), where a private road runs alongside the farm and behind the buildings on Adalbertstraße, before ending in a secluded courtyard. I hope to return to write up the roastery in detail, but for now here’s a brief description.
On your left as you enter the courtyard, the roastery occupies a handsome, two-storey brick building with green-framed windows. Central double doors lead into the spacious coffee shop, behind which is the roastery. A collection of individual counters stand in front of the roastery, one with the till, another with cakes, while others hold the espresso machines and the filter coffee. There’s plenty of seating to the left and right, while there’s more outside, with a combination of concrete benches, picnic-style trestle tables and deck chairs, all shaded by four large parasols, arranged along the front of Bonanza.
Unusually for a speciality roaster, Bonanza doesn’t showcase its best coffees by offering pour-over. Instead, the only filter offer is batch brew. The previous day, at Bonanza Coffee Gendarmenmarkt, the staff had offered me samples of the two filter coffees, the El Injerto micro-lot from Guatemala the La Laguna Anaerobic, another micro-lot, this time from Costa Rica), both impressing me with their quality. The roastery, however, goes one better, with three vacuum flasks arranged on a table, each with a card giving the details of that day’s coffee. Even better, if you’re finding it hard to choose, the tasting flight allows you to sample all three coffees in turn. Obviously, I had to try this.
Unlike other tasting flights which I’ve had in the past, where all the coffees are presented at once, here the barista brings out the samples (around 150 ml) one at a time, each in a glass carafe with a handleless cup placed on top of the carafe as a lid. You also get some details about the coffee, presented, in my case, in flawless English by my excellent baristas.
The first was a washed coffee from Peru, produced by the Cedros community smallholders in the San Ignacio region, described as having classic chocolate and floral notes. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get the floral notes, my notoriously undiscerning palate not helped by my sitting outside at the height of hay fever season. However, I found it a very smooth, drinkable coffee, a nice introduction to the flight.
When you’re finished, you can return to the counter and the staff will bring you the next sample. Alternatively, if you linger over your coffee like me, a barista will eventually appear with your next sample, in my case, the Frinsa Edun. This is a naturally-processed coffee with a 48-hour anaerobic fermentation stage, grown by the Frinsa Estate smallholders in Weninggalih, Indonesia.
As soon as I took the cup from the top of the carafe, I could smell the coffee, which was a real “wow” moment. This was a complete contrast to the Cedros Peru, bursting with tropical fruit notes, resulting in a very sweet and funky coffee. Sadly, I don’t have the palate or vocabulary to do it justice and, while I really enjoyed it, I’m not sure that I could drink a whole cup!
The final offering was the Sasaba Ethiopia, which I’d had the day before as an espresso at Gendarmenmarkt. A naturally-processed coffee grown by Tsegay Hagos Tesfaye, I found it complex and fruity as an espresso. As a filter, I got the same fruity notes, but if I have one criticism (which I shared with the baristas before I left) I would have served this second and the Frinsa Edun last. As it was, I was so blown away by the funkiness of the Frinsa Edun that I really didn’t appreciate the (comparative) subtly of the Sasaba Ethiopia, which was a shame.
In closing, thanks to Bonanza for offering the tasting flight, an excellent opportunity to try three very different coffees side-by-side.
|ADALBERTSTRAßE 70 • 10999 BERLIN • GERMANY|
|Monday||09:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Bonanza (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||09:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||09:00 – 18:00||Food||Cake|
|Thursday||09:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||09:00 – 18:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||10:00 – 18:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||10:00 – 18:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Local||Visits||15th May 2022|
Liked this Coffee Spot? Then check out the rest of Berlin’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Berlin.
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