% Arabica – Berlin (DE)

The iconic East Asian brand with the % symbol makes landfall in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighbourhood inside a gorgeous space with all of its trademark features

  • opening times:
    Mon - Fri: 8 - 18, Sat - Sun: 10 - 18
  • urls:
    Website
  • price check:
    Espresso: €2,40 / Flat White: €3,70 / Filter: €3,50
  • machine:
    Synesso
  • coffees on offer:
    various
  • milk:
    Demeter

I walked straight past the sign announcing the day’s specials and didn’t notice I had already gone a whole block further until some strange suspicion started nagging me and I proceeded to double check Google Maps. Indeed, I had walked past it, but I swear I had looked at the buildings as I headed down Reichenbergerstrasse and I didn’t see it. After I had retraced my steps and took a more comprehensive view of what was before me I noticed the sign and looked into the courtyard at number 36 where I found what I was looking for. % Arabica Berlin.

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The first time I came across one of these cafés was in Kyoto a few years ago and I was instantly struck by the gorgeous design, iconic branding and its somewhat puzzling approach to roasting coffee. Never before had I found a place that did ‘on-demand-coffee-roasting’ but % Arabica did just that. At % Arabica Berlin, like at all other global locations, there is no difference to its approach and as you walk along the gorgeous bar sporting a 3-group Synesso you’ll come face to face with the famed Tornado King roaster.

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You can say what you want about this approach and the idea that % Arabica will undoubtedly have many customers who walk in, order coffee and rather than letting it rest for a few days consume it right away but there is absolutely no doubt about the fact that they do something pretty unique and it looks absolutely stunning.

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The space is surprisingly big with a long bench along the left side (unfortunately rather uncomfortable to sit on since the wall is too far back) a high table at the back and a big open kitchen where many Japan-inspired dishes are freshly made. You also cannot help but notice a large contingent of Asian staff and guests, something that enhances % Arabica’s heritage.

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Surveying the room, you’ll notice many little details such as the vinyl player and suspended Chemexes behind the bar, the perfectly arranged to-go-utensils-tray and the coffee bags in glass cases above the seating area. It feels wonderfully airy and decluttered, something that still plagues many cafés nowadays.

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The coffee menu includes all your favourites from flat whites to (somewhat complicatedly prepared) pour-overs and the food offers yummy sounding dishes roast pork shoulder and zucchini salad. Time to pay a visit to brand new addition to Berlin’s ever-vibrant coffee scene!

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