Though France and Germany are the two biggest economies in the European Union and play a vital role in the bloc’s politics, they don’t always see eye to eye. Germany, a huge industrial country with 83 million people is often reluctant to take a strong stance on international issues, fearing its dark past will come back to haunt it. France, on the other hand, is mainland Europe’s strongest military power and home to a huge luxury industry that includes everything from absurd $1.000.000 handbags to some of the world’s finest tipples.
Yet, despite France’s world-class cuisine, it was late to the specialty coffee party and its capital Paris only relatively recently started developing a homegrown third wave coffee culture that is finally catching up with Berlin’s roasters and cafés. The German capital, an international melting pot that attracted fortune-seekers, artists, clubbers and entrepreneurs throughout much of the 2000’s and 2010’s, built a leading local specialty coffee industry that was easily the most exciting in Europe and hot on the heels of London.
This dynamism is also what attracted Kresten Thorgesen, the Aussie national, to Berlin. Kresten, who grew up in a family of café owners and chefs, was gently pushed towards developing an interest in coffee at a young age by his father and it was in Melbourne, Australia’s coffee capital, that Kresten started acquiring his first skills. However, as Kresten confessed during a phone call with me a few days ago, setting up a café in Melbourne would have required a huge amount of funding. “If you want to set up a new coffee business in Melbourne, you need to think in the millions, not in the thousands,” Kresten lamented.
In the 2000’s, Kresten had been on a long holiday to Europe and Berlin had piqued his interest as a city where he could see himself setting up shop. At the time, the city was booming and in a constant state of flux as thousands of people moved there every year to start new businesses in low-rent spaces catering to a huge population of 3.5 million residents. Since opening Father Carpenter in 2015, this full service café has become a crowd favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. A cute little side story is that my boyfriend Michal and I met at Father Carpenter on our first trip abroad as a couple in 2019 and I still cherish that memory very much.
In the years that followed, Kresten joined forces with Morgan Love of Silo Coffee, another Berlin institution, to set up Fjord Coffee who we have featured many times over the years. At the time, Fjord joined a fast-growing number of new roasters that were popping up all over the city and Fjord is now firmly part of the city’s creme de la creme of specialty roasters.
Yet in recent months, Kresten began falling out of love with Berlin and eyeing a departure to someone new. “PARIS,” he exclaimed! When I asked him why there, he told me that he was fascinated by the French capital’s burgeonining coffee scene and that he wanted to try something new. He thinks that there is still plenty of room to grow in Paris, something he doesn’t quite see in Berlin any more. Thus, in 2024, Father Carpenter will be setting up a new café and roastery in the French capital, something that Kresten is really looking forward to.
Until then, however, Father Carpenter will continue building its brand out of Berlin and this December, will be making its Coffeevine debut in its own right. I’m really looking forward to sharing their exquisite washed Pink Bourbon from producer Ricardo Silva who is based in the Huila region of Colombia. This coffee stood out to us on the cupping table thanks to its bright and citrusy cup profile. It’s a delight both as a pourover and as an espresso.
Receive this coffee along with outstanding coffees from Koppi and Three Marks as part of our December 2023 European coffee roasters selection. Visit our shop to order your box. Ships globally on 15.12.2023