Vibrant, brilliant Munich is sorely lacking in artisan coffee options. Until Bald Neu, that is, which opened just three weeks before my visit.
A German friend described Bavaria to me as the “Texas of Germany”. Largely religious, conservative and with an impenetrable accent. As such, Munich, its capital, is less international than its big brother, Berlin, scientifically proved by the glut of “third wave” cafés in Berlin, and their near-absence in Munich.
Munich’s first artisan coffee shop is, according to the owners, the brand new Bald Neu.
A short stroll away from the tourist and business centre, Bald Neu is in a quiet residential area. No chance of stumbling across it; you need to know where to look.
Run by Maksim Dubilej, this young café is, understandably, still a little rough around the edges. The door sign is a beer mat stuck on with sticky tape.
The decor might be the “shabby” end of “shabby chic”, but brilliantly, and actually quite inspiringly, so. As occasionally happens, I found myself in a coffee shop that made me want to start my own coffee shop.
Through the power of Twitter, local roaster Johannes Bayer turned up. We whiled away the hours (three of them, more or less) talking about all things coffee, even including British coffee roasteries… it seems the reputation of Has Bean, Square Mile etc has reached this part of the world.
Johannes prepared two Aeropresses, one with a paper filter, one with a metal filter. The difference in taste was easily discernible (who’d have thought?), and both were delicious. These guys know how to make coffee, which has – since my visit – improved further with the arrival of a state-of-the-art La Marzocco machine.
That’s Johannes, pressing down an Aeropress. Maksim is behind the counter.
How will the locals react to Bald Neu? Johannes told me that “Italy has been bad for Bavaria”, with Munich filled with Italian-style espresso bars and pizza places. Nothing wrong with the odd Italian-style espresso, but it’s not where coffee is “at” these days.
Johannes and Maksim are banking on a shift in attitude among Munich’s coffee-drinkers. Their hope is for the subtle charms of a pour-over to oust the traditional Italin robusta espresso.
With fantastic coffee, authentic surroundings and passionate coffee-heads at the helm, and over a million discerning Munich residents to entice, I’m banking on Bald Neu to be a tremendous success.
Does Munich’s coffee revolution start here? If so, it was an honour to be there.
(This might be Bavaria’s best coffee shop… for the other contender, see Kaffeemanufaktur Machhörndl.)
JB Kaffee (roastery): http://www.jbkaffee.de/
We visited on 22 June 2012.