Black Delight – Hamburg (DE)
Retro charm, home made cakes and good coffee
One of the things I loved the most about my little Hamburg coffee adventure was the fact that I got to discover areas and streets that I wouldn’t necessarily visit whenever I am back home. As you do as an expat who returns home, you often have cravings for the places that bring back memories. The places where you and your friends used to hang out after school or get drunk on the weekends. Hamburg is such a huge city that I never really have enough time to go and explore. Well, until I set myself a mission that is.
After leaving Torrefaktum I set off to find this little place that I had read some good reviews about on some slightly outdated blogs. Before I left Amsterdam I had started to get the feeling that the specialty coffee scene in Hamburg was still in its baby shoes at best and speaking to some of the people I had met until that point confirmed this suspicion. What’s worse is that there really isn’t anywhere you can find the best places online. Compiling this small list of 4 venues took a long time and was rather tedious work. Not the kind of thing you want to be doing when all you want is a great cup of coffee. Even more reason for me to head out there and bring you the best recommendations for great coffee in your local communities, right here on The Coffeevine.
Black Delight is a rustic little place. Dominated by a big high table in the middle, this cute little caffe has a real retro feel to it with its old-school bike mounted on the wall and the awesome tape recorder behind the bar. Owner Viktoria Ljuber took over Black Delight in October 2012 and set herself the mission to transform the place into a homely neighbourhood coffee bar. From what I could tell so far, she was doing a rather good job.
The coffee menu above the bar contained all the usual hits and there was even a slow coffee bar, something that I had not seen anywhere until this point. Another oddity were the coffees on offer. Her 3.1 blend is a pure Arabica blend while the 2.1 blend contained 80% Arabica and 20% Robusta. In Amsterdam’s specialty coffee bars you’ll be hard pressed to find Robusta anywhere. “I get my coffees custom roasted by our own roaster at the Quijote Kaffee facilities and I have specifically chosen to offer only full fat milk to go with my Espresso specialties. I don’t believe in all of that skinny milk crap. My coffees need the rich texture of full fat milk to develop their intense flavours,” Viktoria told me while making a Latte Macchiato for a waiting customer.
“The coffee culture in Hamburg is changing only very slowly. Sure, we’ve had all the big local chains here for years but when it comes to specialty coffee, we’re well behind other cities in Europe and Berlin. I think it has to do with the local Gemütlichkeit. People love their traditions here.”
At the moment Black Delight is focusing on great coffee and home made cakes but soon enough they also want to start serving simple breakfasts. It took Viktoria and her husband a good while to renovate the place but they’re getting there. One thing that amused me a lot was when she told me that Black Delight had apparently been featured in an old Dutch guidebook to Hamburg and that consequently Dutch tourists regularly end up coming in for coffee. “It’s hilarious. At first I didn’t get it. How did they all know about me? I’m not in the center or anything and then I realized that some guidebook was telling people to come here. That’s my Amsterdam connection for you,” she said laughing.
Although my Flat White was not featured on the menu, Viktoria whipped up a rather tasty version of her own and I happily took a seat at the bar to flick through Saturday’s paper and while away in one of Hamburg’s friendliest specialty coffee bars.