Updated June 2019
When I drank myself through Munich's coffee scene I was particularly impressed with three cafes that shine with locally roasted beans, carefully crafted concepts and passionate baristas. Overall, the number of specialty coffee shops in Munich cannot be compared to major coffee capitals such as Berlin, but that does not mean the quality isn't top notch. Let's start in Munich’s Glockenbachviertel, a neighbourhood that attracts the youngsters and the hipsters for its fashionable bars and funky shops.
Man Versus Machine Coffee Roasters
Please don't ask for a Latte Macchiato when you enter Man Versus Machine, it's not on the menu and it never will be. Keep it simple and order a Flat White, Espresso or decide on one of the filter options, for there are plenty. Whether you prefer Aeropress, the Syphon, V60 or Kalita, you can't go wrong! Man Versus Machine uses only specialty grade coffee beans freshly roasted on site. Conny and Marko are the power couple behind Man Versus Machine and spent years renovating and remodeling their first coffee shop in the Glockenbach district, This year, they are venturing into the neighbourhood Maxvorstadt with the opening of a coffee bar very close to the university.
Man Versus Machine is partly working together with Rodolfo, a coffee trader directly sourcing from specialty coffee farms in El Salvador under the name Ruffatti Batlle. For all other coffee they are relying on Nordic Approach, a company known for their high quality green beans and transparency. Usually there are four to five different type of beans to choose from. What's interesting is the fact that Man Versus Machine develop a roasting profile for each coffee that works for both, espresso and filter. Their focus is on light to medium roasts only and the coffee beans are rotated according to their complexity. More complex coffee is rotated quite frequently whereas a less complex one will stay on the menu for a while longer. I loved the variety of beans and certainly think that Man and Machine, in this case baristas David and Maxim and a La Marzocco Strada, are working together perfectly. For those of you who are not able to come to Munich to watch this battle of perfection first hand, do not worry, you can find Man Versus Machine beans also in cities like Berlin or London.
The cafe Standl 20 is located in a cabin like house at Elisabethmarkt, a relaxed and authentic market in the heart of Schwabing. Toni Lohde und Johannes Bayer are the creators and coffee experts who opened Standl 20 in May 2015. Johannes is also the beanius behind JB Kaffee coffee roaster, currently based in Dachau. It goes without saying that JB Kaffee is what you'll be drinking here. Choose between two kinds of espresso beans or a total of 11 coffees for filter. The house blend is a regular for espresso, a light roast with low acidity and a full body that is pleasant even for those who are new to the third wave.
As some of you know, I am addicted to a good cup of coffee as much as to taking pictures of one. At times I do get weird looks for taking out my camera at a coffee shop and pointing it at my cup, but not so at Standl 20. Paul, the cheery barista on duty that day, had all sorts of ideas for a great photo. So I ended up staying for a while, really taking in the cosy atmosphere and eyeing up the warm wooden design. But I am not the only one with an appreciation for Standl 20's feel-good vibe: in 2016 the cafe was awarded a Fizzz Award for the most creative cafe concept in Germany.
Markt auf dem Elisabethplatz
Even though the cafe gangundgäbe has been around since November 2015, it took four years until I finally paid a visit. I am not usually so behind the times when it comes to scouting a city’s best coffee shops, but I am so happy I finally discovered this neighbourhood cafe.
Disclaimer: The coffee shop has closed in autumn 2017 but the roastery continues to operate.
Another coffee shop and roastery born in 2014 is the dreamy Mahlefitz set in Neuhausen-Nymphenburg. The founders are Peter Schlögl, his wife Mojgan and Sebastian Lösch, but the latter moved on from the business.
All beans roasted by Mahlefitz are specialty graded and imported either through Collaborative Coffee Source or Nordic Approach. The owners have repeatedly mentioned in the press that they are seeking to provide an alternative to the dark Italian roasts still predominantly brewed in Munich. Therefore, you'll find fruity and chocolatey brews that have been roasted lightly to extract all the best flavours. I was excited to know that Mahlefitz are starting a direct collaboration with Café Ruiz in Boquete, Panama. I had visited their farm last year and tried some of their coffee which were excellent. Keep an eye out for Panamanian coffee and don't worry if you're too far away from Munich, Mahlefitz beans are being sold in several locations across Europe.