less political – Hamburg (DE)

A small island of great coffee in an otherwise Latte Macchiato flooded neighbourhood

  • opening times:
    Mo - Fr: 12 - 18, Sa: 11 - 17
  • wifi:
    Yes
  • urls:
    FacebookWebsiteTwitter
  • price check:
    Espresso €1,50 / Flat White €2,30
  • machine:
    La San Marco
  • coffees on offer:
    1 Espresso blend, several filter roast guests
  • milk:
    Reitbrook

During a recent meeting with Annika Taschinski of famed Hamburg coffee roasters Elbgold, we discussed once more how Hamburg, despite being the main entry point for some of the world’s best coffees, simply isn’t really catching on to the specialty coffee scene that has so far gripped so many other European cities. But what many outsiders don’t quite comprehend is that people in Hamburg are quite traditional and in some respect, rather conservative. Yes, the city might be world famous for its “mile of sins” and its reputation as a place of tolerance and diveristy is undoubted but Hamburgers love the things they know already. The famous saying “Was der Bauer nicht kennt, isst er nicht” (what the farmer doesn’t know, he won’t eat) seems fitting but it’s not quite that bad. And thankfully there are plenty of examples that are like light at the end of the tunnel.

There is one small shop in the fun Schanze neighbourhood, which has made it its mission to change people’s perception of coffee by carefully guiding them towards the bliss of specialty coffee. Initially started as an art/coffee pop with a limited shelf life, less political, is a venture that seems to be here to stay rather than on its way out. Launched by Mika Neu and Filine Manthey back in August 2012, the two entrepreneurs were originally planning to be open for only 1 year. Now, they are getting close to their second anniversary and things are going rather well.

The cozy inside

The cozy inside

As you enter their former industrial home, which used to house the exchange stables of the nearby “Schlachthof” (German for: slaughterhouse), you are immediately greeted by a rather complex coffee set up that covers pretty much every brew method on the planet. From cold brew to Kalita to more traditional espresso-based drinks, they got you covered. The only one I didn’t spot was the Syphon.

What I particularly like about this place is its familiar atmosphere and lack of pretentiousness. Mika and Filine are the kind of people who will try and find out what suits your brew and offer you a drink that will make you happy. Whether you’re into beautiful filter coffees, which often hail from some of Europe’s finest roasters (think Tim Wendelboe in Oslo, Bonanza Coffee Roasters in Berlin or Café Lomi in Paris) or you’re more into experimental signature drinks like their cappuccino brûlée or coconut coffee, there’s something for everyone. Including a healthy selection of loose leaf teas.

When they first opened their doors two years ago they wanted to sell printed t-shirts and coffee in a relaxed and non-politicised environment and quickly found out that their love for great coffee was larger than their love for clothes and other art. As art is often political in nature, their goal was to move away from that notion and while looking for a name for their project they came across the sentence “less political” and thought it rather fitting.

Mika and Filine take great care to offer the best quality in everything they do. Their cheesecake (unfortunately unavailable today) has the potential to give Five Elephant’s famous cheese cake a run for their money, while I also got to smell their home toasted müsli and almost wanted to eat it up there and then. They even have a home made espresso jelly, which you can smear on your toast and tastes delicious with a little bit of butter.

For those of us who appreciate the great things in coffee, it’s good to know that a place like less political exists and offers a nice refuge from the Latte Macchiato overkill in the rest of the city.

Their espresso machine + cold drip installation

Their espresso machine + cold drip installation

They always have several guest roasters

They always have several guest roasters

Plenty of equipment for sale

Plenty of equipment for sale

Two perfectly prepared cups of coffee

Two perfectly prepared cups of coffee

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