When I went to Berlin in May this year for work, I really wasn’t expecting much in the way of speciality coffee in the vicinity of my hotel, just south of the Zoological Garden. However, I was much mistaken. On my arrival, I made the chance discovery of The Visit, just down the street from my hotel, and then, on my first full day, I visited the original Five Elephant in Kreuzberg, where the staff told me about the newest Five Elephant, located inside the famous KaDeWe department store, a convenient short stroll from my hotel.
Five Elephant is on the top floor of KaDeWe at the back of the food hall. There’s a big, square island counter, plenty of seating and a large retail area (both beans and an extensive range of coffee equipment), all backed up by some very knowledgeable and friendly staff. There’s a very similar coffee and cake offering to the Kreuzberg coffee shop, with a single-origin and decaf on espresso, all shots pulled on a Modbar installation. For filter, there’s another single-origin on batch brew with any of the beans currently in stock available through either the AeroPress or as a pour-over through the V60.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
KaDeWe (short for Kaufhaus Des Westens) has been a Berlin institution for over 100 years, although Five Elephant’s contribution is a little more recent, having only moved into the top-floor food hall in November 2019. On the southern side of Tauentzienstraße, very close to Wittenbergplatz and its U-Bahn station, KaDeWe occupies a large, six-storey building with a more modern extension at the back. It’s quite easy to get lost or disorientated and if there’s a floorplan or map either in the building or online, I didn’t find it.
My biggest challenge was locating Five Elephant, which is at the back of the extensive food hall, packed with food shops, cafés and restaurants. The trick is to use the rearmost of two central stair/escalator wells (there are also lifts) which deposit you fairly close to Five Elephant, which is in the middle at the back.
There are two parts to Five Elephant, the first a large retail area, consisting of two parallel sets of counters, with a round, padded seating area in the middle that has four tables and six stools. You can buy any of Five Elephant’s beans plus there’s an extensive array of coffee-making kit, from pour-over to automatic filter and espresso machines.
Beyond this is the island counter, with its two-group Modbar installation front and centre. More retail bags of beans are on display to the right, while there’s a selection of cake to the left, with more in a large chiller cabinet running down the left-hand side (also home to the soft drinks). Confusingly, the till, where you order, is at the back of the island counter (there’s a sign at the front point you in this direction, suggesting that I wasn’t the only one who tried to order at the front)!
There’s more seating behind the counter, provided by a long eight-person oval table with high chairs along with a short bar against the back wall. However, the bulk of the seating is in a U-shaped bay to right, which is lined by a long, padded bench. The longest section runs along the right-hand wall, while there are two short extensions front and back, which form the U.
There’s a four-person table in the corner at the front, a line of three two-person tables along the right-hand side, with another in the back corner and a final one along the rear extension. To its left is a second oval table (shorter than the one behind the counter). Finally, at the front of the bay, is a central pillar, a two-person table to either side.
Although close to my hotel, Five Elephant didn’t open until 11:00 each morning, ruling out coffee before the start of my meeting. However, I could run (almost literally) over during coffee breaks to grab something to go, which is what I did on a couple of occasions, while I also had a longer visit on the Friday, after my meeting had ended.
I’d had the naturally-processed Sitio Joaninha from Brazil as an espresso at Five Elephant Kreuzberg, while KaDeWe had a different naturally-processed Brazilian on espresso, the Sítio Canaā, which I had as a flat white in my Frank Green Ceramic cup, coffee and milk in perfect harmony. On my second visit, I had the batch brew, made with the Santa Fe, a washed Colombian, a lovely, smooth coffee.
Finally, on Friday morning, when I had more time to linger, I ironically had a cortado, again with the Sítio Canaā. I preferred this to the flat white, the character of the coffee coming through more clearly, providing a strong first hit. As I got chatting with the staff, they gave me a sample of an Ethiopian cold brew which was really good, like a good filter gone cold rather than a traditional cold brew (which has a distinctive taste that I don’t appreciate), setting me up nicely for the rest of my day.
|TAUENTZIENSTRAßE 21-24 • 10789 BERLIN • GERMANY|
|www.fiveelephant.com||+49 (0) 302 121 2171|
|Monday||11:00 – 19:00||Roaster||Five Elephant (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||11:00 – 19:00||Seating||Tables, Bar|
|Wednesday||11:00 – 19:00||Food||Cake|
|Thursday||11:00 – 19:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||10:00 – 19:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||10:00 – 19:00||Wifi||Free|
|Chain||Local||Visits||9th, 12th, 13th May 2022|
Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Berlin for more great Coffee Spots.
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