The Hamburg cafe scene is buzzing with an impressive number of coffee shops serving specialty coffee. Read on to find out our favorite Hamburg cafes in Germany’s most caffeinated city.
Did you know that Hamburg is one of the world’s most progressive cities when it comes to third wave coffee? Don’t feel bad if your answer is no. We didn’t know either until we experienced the quality of Hamburg coffee shops for ourselves.
When we think about the city’s role in global coffee trading, Hamburg’s coffee obsession makes sense. Hamburg is Germany’s largest port city and the third biggest in all of Europe. In this capacity, large quantities of coffee from countries like Brazil, Colombia and Kenya arrive all year long before departing for EU countries including Sweden, Finland and Denmark as well as the UK.
With much of this coffee processed in the city’s Speicherstadt warehouse district, Hamburg has access to great beans. In other words, this is a city where coffee is ubiquitous from roasters who produce some of the best beans in Europe, if not the world.
Check out fun things to do in Hamburg when you’re not drinking coffee.
Table of Contents
- Hamburg’s Coffee History
- Hamburg’s Current Coffee Culture
- The Best Hamburg Cafes
- Hamburg Coffee Shop FAQs
- Hungry for Food in Germany?
Hamburg’s Coffee History
Hamburg’s coffee history dates back to the 17th century when the city opened its first coffee house. Years later, with the start of its initial coffee exchange in 1887, the German port city became a leading coffee player and one of the world’s major green coffee trading centers.
Hamburg also participated in coffee’s history with the emergence of companies like Darboven and Tchibo during the mid 20th century. Today, the Port of Hamburg imports approximately 700,000 tons of coffee each year while exporting 400,000 to countries in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
Visit Kaffeemuseum Burg to learn more about the history of coffee and its Hamburg connection. Located in a harborside warehouse in the Speicherstadt district, this coffee-centric museum features exhibits that delve into the history of coffee as well as a roastery, gift shop and cafe. As a bonus, the museum’s entrance fee includes a guided tour and tasting.
Hamburg’s Current Coffee Culture
Rivaling Berlin, Germany’s modern coffee behemoth to the east, Hamburg has evolved into a third wave coffee hub with specialty coffee houses throughout the city. The city may have been late to the party but has caught up quickly.
For those not familiar with the third wave coffee movement, its disciples (including us) favor artisan preparation of lighter roast coffee using beans singly sourced from sustainable farms primarily in South America, Africa and Asia. Many believe that the movement started in American cities like Seattle and Portland before going to the next level in cities like Melbourne and Cape Town.
The Best Hamburg Cafes
You don’t have to look hard to find good coffee in Hamburg. The city has an abundance of third wave coffee shops, many offering free Wi-Fi and tasty treats in addition to cappuccinos and flat whites. Its coffee culture compares favorably to European coffee-centric cities like Amsterdam, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin and Paris.
Some of the best Hamburg coffee shops also serve brunch, allowing travelers to mash two potatoes with one fork. The city also has a thriving craft beer scene and an impressive number of great restaurants.
True lovers of modern coffee will want to skip chains like Starbucks and Balzac (a local operation acquired by Espresso House in 2017) and instead frequent independent cafes in Hamburg. When you’re thirsty for good coffee in Hamburg, we recommend the following spots:
It’s all fun and games at Playground Coffee except when it comes to the drinks. Despite its fanciful name and colorful decor, Playground is serious about coffee. Without a doubt, this Hamburg coffee shop is a necessary destination for followers of coffee’s third wave movement.
First-time visitors may be wary when they notice toys upon walking through Playground’s front door. The key is to look beyond the miniature trucks, classic Etch-a-Sketch screen and hanging plants to see the cafe in action.
Owner Veljko Tatalovic and a crew of dedicated baristas brew excellent drinks using the shop’s proprietary coffees. The shop globally sources its beans and roasts them locally.
Customers can buy these beans in boxes artistically designed by graphic designer Andreas Teichmann. Keeping with the cafe’s playful theme, coffee roast names include Dirty Berry, Skywalker and Two Face.
Manufact Coffee Roasters
Formerly known as Less Political and more recently Hermetic, Manufact is a funky yet serious Hamburg coffee shop in the Schanze near Feldßtrasse. The coffee shop kept the funk as well as its commitment to coffee excellence when it changed ownership in 2020.
We couldn’t help but notice that funk as we walked past griffiti covered brick walls to enter the cafe during our most recent visit. We also couldn’t help doing a double take once we realized that Manufact had replaced Hermetic since we thought we were going to a new-to-us coffee shop.
Initially sad since Hermetic was one of our favorite Hamburg coffee shops, our frowns quickly turned upside down once we sipped our coffees. That’s when we realized that, despite the new owners, this cafe was as good as before and perhaps even better.
We liked our coffees enough to buy a bag of beans to take home. While Manufact roasts its own beans and also sells beans sourced from Sweden’s Drop Coffee, we bought a bag of fruit-forward Colombian beans roasted by Hermetic. Yes, we’re nothing if not creatures of habit who love great coffee.
Stop by for a late afternoon pick-me-up. Manufact is open until 6 pm every day of the week.
Manufact Coffee Roasters is located at Sternstraße 68, 20357 Hamburg, Germany.
Public Coffee Roasters
Public Coffee Roasters addresses the age-old question of what Jesus would brew, not to mention drink. If he were living in 21st century Hamburg, the answer is obviously coffee.
In addition to answering this question, Public Coffee blurs the lines between coffee and art. Customers first experience the art when they walk into the stylish cafes and then taste it in coffees adorned with latte art.
Public Coffee has multiple Hamburg locations including the Goldbekplatz cafe where we visited. Located in a converted metal foundry, the chic space has an airy vibe that welcomes guests to relax over coffee or lunch.
We observed an eclectic group of coffee fans as we drank cappuccinos made with a medium blend of Brazilian, Guatemalan and Ethiopian beans. Though the cafe encourages slurping, we didn’t hear any during our visit.
The team at Public Coffee focuses on all aspects of the process starting with sourcing top quality beans from sustainable coffee farms around the world. This attention continues at the Hamburg roasting facility as well as at the cafes where baristas proudly serve the end result.
Plan to read magazines or talk to friends when you drink coffee at Public Coffee Roasters since free Wi-Fi isn’t provided to customers.
Public Coffee Roasters has multiple Hamburg locations.
Marshall Street Coffee
Marshall Street Coffee may be a relatively new coffee shop in Hamburg but it’s far from a neophyte.
The progressive coffee shop roasts its beans and crafts flat whites to a level of perfection that you might expect to experience in Australia – the country that invented the creamy espresso drink. But Hamburg is more than 10,000 miles from that country down under. So what gives?
It all made sense to us when we met Tristan Garrett, one of Marshall Street Coffee’s owners. Not only did he grow up in Sydney, but Garrett also made the coffee rounds in Hamburg at spots like Public Coffee and Tōrnqvist (now closed) before opening Marshall Street Coffee in February of 2020.
We enjoyed our flat whites he crafted with naturally roasted Ethiopian beans so much that we bought a bag of beans for the road. Upon our return home, we were so sad when we finished that bag that we considered ordering more beans for shipment to Portugal. It hasn’t happened yet but it could.
Make an advance reservation so that you can drink your flat white while eating brunch at Marshall Street Coffee. The combination is a winner.
Marshall Street Coffee is located at Schopenstehl 30, 20095 Hamburg, Germany.
Roasting and selling specialty coffee since 2004, Elbgold Röstkaffee can easily claim seniority in the Hamburg cafe scene. However, this elder statesman doesn’t sit on its laurels when it comes to the business of coffee.
The Elbgold operation now has six cafes including its original cafe in the Winterhude neighborhood, a bustling cafe in Sternschanze and a specialty lab near the Rathausmarkt. The roastery also runs a successful retail operation, selling roasted beans to local customers and throughout Germany.
We recommend a stop at Sternschanze since this is where much of Elbgold’s magic happens. Talented Hamburg coffee roasters like Sebastian Kohrs transform sustainably sourced arabica beans at this location. Also worth noting is the on-site bakery that uses local ingredients to create cheesecake, bagels and other tasty treats.
Don’t plan to work at Elbgold unless you have a hotspot. The popular Hamburg cafe does not provide free Wi-Fi to customers.
Elbgold Röstkaffee is located at Lagerstraße 34c, 20357 Hamburg, Germany.
Nord Coast Coffee Roasters
Open since 2015 near the Hamburg waterfront, the original Nord Coast Coffee Roasters serves solid coffee, good food and free Wi-Fi in a two-story space. Coffee-loving locals queue up at the popular cafe during prime times like lunch and on the weekends.
We’re not exaggerating about the queues. We experienced short waits during our two weekend visits but were able to wander right in during our weekday visits.
Not surprising based on its name, Nord Coast Coffee Roasters roasts its own beans and sells them at its cafes. We bought a bag of Guatemalan beans during our 2019 visit but passed during our 2022 visit since our flat whites didn’t have the same wow factor.
The surprise at Nord Coast Coffee Roasters is the quality of its food. We love the cafe’s Franzbrötchen pastries as well as its brunch menu. If we lived in Hamburg, we’d be happy to eat waffles topped with lime mascarpone and fresh fruit any day of the week.
Feel free to skip the queue if you’re getting your coffee to go.
Nord Coast Coffee Roasters has multiple locations. Its original cafe is located at Deichstraße 9, 20459 Hamburg, Germany.
After opening in August of 2019, Blanco Coffee made a big splash in its small space located on Lange Reihe. How big? Big enough to open a second Schanze location just two years later.
While the cafe has the word ‘coffee’ in it name, some people go to Blanco Coffee for its desserts. During our visit, the cafe served seven tempting cakes, five of which were marked as vegan. A multi-colored vegan rhubarb cake tempted us the most – go figure.
As for us, we went to Blanco Coffee to drink coffees crafted with locally sourced beans roasted by Cycle Roasters. We weren’t disappointed by the quality of our flat whites or their heart art.
Beyond coffee and cake, the cafe sells a range of equipment including the same trendy batch brew Moccamaster coffee machines we encountered at the Lisbon Coffee Festival. The cafe also sells beans from countries like Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Ethiopia.
Bring your own cup and receive a small discount on your coffee.
Blanco Coffee has two Hamburg locations. We visited the cafe located at Bartelsstraße 2, 20357 Hamburg, Germany.
The name Black Delight enticed us enough that we took a metro to Hamburg’s Eimsbüttel neighborhood to check the cafe out for ourselves. What we found was a cute indoor/outdoor cafe serving excellent coffee away from the tourist zone.
In addition to trying a cappuccino, we also ordered a cup of filtered coffee. As we watched a stream of fresh milk splash into freshly brewed coffee, we knew that our short journey was worth the extra effort.
The team at Black Delight has been ‘respecting coffee’ since 2008. This respect is evident in the cafe’s locally roasted beans as well as in the resulting coffee. It would be wrong not to pay them respect when you visit Hamburg.
Recommended to us by a local, CODOS is the kind of Hamburg coffee shop that buzzes with activity but lives under the radar. At least that’s how it seemed to us the few times we stopped by the centrally located cafe to enjoy drinks like macchiatos, cappuccinos and filtered coffee.
The cafe serves a full range of espresso drinks and brewed coffee as well as teas and tempting baked goods. CODOS originally served frozen yogurt too, but the owners have since fine-tuned their offerings to focus on the main event, i.e. coffee.
Though CODOS sells its own beans, the progressive coffee shop also sells bean from a variety of Hamburg roasters in a ‘show of community support.’ Whichever beans you order, plan to stand while you drink your coffee or take it to enjoy on the go – seats are sparse at CODOS.
Feel like sitting? Go to the more spacious Ottensen location where you can hang out and sit down while you drink your coffee.
CODOS has multiple Hamburg locations. We frequented the location at Bartelsstraße 26, 20357 Hamburg, Germany.
Stockholm Espresso Club
Stockholm Espresso Club provides a Swedish coffee drinking experience from coffee beans imported from Stockholm’s Koppi Roasters to design elements featuring clean lines and soothing tones. This Hamburg cafe takes the concept even further by serving sweet treats like kanelbuallar cinnamon pastries ideal for fika, Sweden’s traditional coffee break shared among friends.
The Scandinavian theme starts with Owner David Vahabi who hails from Sweden. He has infused his Hamburg coffee shop with lagom or the right amount of details like free Wi-Fi and ample seating to ensure a balance between comfort and quality. If you close your eyes, you may think you’re drinking coffee in Helsinki or Turku.
Though skilled baristas have access to modern coffee equipment like Hario V60 drippers, we were drawn to the cafe’s Bosco lever espresso machine imported from Naples. We love sipping expertly pulled espressos at Napoli cafes, but we also love drinking third wave coffee in comfort. At Stockholm Espresso Club, we can do both at the same time
In a neighborhood more famous for Portuguese food than for specialty coffee, locating Milch is like finding a needle in a haystack. However, don’t think that Milch is a hidden gem. This Hamburg cafe located in a former dairy shop and delicatessen has been popular among locals and tourists since it opened in 2014.
Milch, which translates to milk, retains much of the charm of the building’s prior business. The most notable feature is the pale blue tiling where we chose to photograph our cappuccino.
Baristas at Milch craft coffee drinks to order and serve them with fresh milk. Considering the cafe’s name, we wouldn’t expect otherwise.
Check out Milch’s Instagram account if you’re a fan of both coffee and dogs.
Milch is located at Ditmar-Koel-Straße 22, 20459 Hamburg, Germany.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab
We stopped in our tracks when we bumped into a Copenhagen Coffee Lab in Hamburg. After all, we live around the corner from a Copenhagen Coffee Lab in Lisbon plus we love everything that comes out of the coffee-loving Danish city.
That Copenhagen Coffee Lab wasn’t the last one we spotted as during our Hamburg coffee crawl. The specialty coffee company arrived in Hamburg in 2019 and now has more than a half dozen locations throughout the city. The coffee conglomerate also operates cafes in more German cities including Düsseldorf and Essen.
We can’t say that we loved our coffee at Copenhagen Coffee Lab as much as we loved the coffee at many of Hamburg’s independent coffee shops. However, it was still fun to sip flat whites from the cafe’s familiar teal-colored coffee mugs.
It was also fun to share an almond-studded marzipan croissant. That croissant flavor isn’t yet available in Lisbon and it’s a winner.
Order a marzipan croissant if you like almonds. Otherwise, order a kanelsnegle.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab has multiple Hamburg locations. We visited the Rindermarkthalle cafe located at Neuer Kamp 31, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.
Bright and airy, Torrefaktum Kaffeerösterei wins the prize of being the Hamburg cafe located the closest to the Altona hotel where we stayed during our third visit to Hamburg.
But this cafe isn’t just walking distance from the Superbude Altona. It’s also down the block from the space where Torrefaktum roasts coffee beans and bakes pastries.
Torrefaktum has been a neighborhood fixture since it opened in 2013. The Ottensen cafe sells a variety of coffee drinks and pastries as well as fun t-shirts that made us smile. Just like the tag line on the t-shirts, we too feel depressed on days without coffee.
Hamburg Coffee Shop FAQs
Yes. Coffee is popular all over Germany and Hamburg is no exception.
Hamburg coffee prices are comparable to other European cities. Accordingly, plan to spend a few euros for a quality cappuccino or flat white.
Yes. Hamburg has more than a dozen specialty coffee shops. Some like CODOS and Copenhagen Coffee Lab have multiple locations.
Top Hamburg specialty coffee shops include Playground Coffee, Manufact Coffee, Public Coffee Roasters and Marshall Street Coffee. Try them all plus more to find your favorite.
Yes. Hamburg first Starbucks location opened in 2010. There are now more than a dozen Starbucks coffee shops in Hamburg.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: March 15, 2019