The third wave coffee culture is a funny business. What we’ve seen in many European countries is a fast-paced development in most capital cities but much slower growth in second and third cities. Take Paris and Marseille for example, or London and Manchester. In both those cases the capitals already have a plethora of great coffee roasters and coffee shops while their siblings are only just getting started.
In Germany the situation is quite similar. While Berlin’s already miles ahead of any other German city, Hamburg, the country’s second largest, things are little slower. Only during every other visit that I pay to my hometown is there something new to report on. This time, there’s Nord Coast Coffee Roasters.
Located in an area of town that is heavily populated by officeworkers and tourists, Nord Coast occupies a former maritime travel agency that is spread out over two floors with gorgeous views of the Nikolaifleet. Founded by husband and wife team Jörn Gorzolla and Paula Mendes who spent several years at the near by Speicherstadt Rösterei, Nord Coast may be all third wave with regards to its look and feel, but as Jörn told me over a cup of his Porto Bello espresso: “We also have a lot of traditional coffee drinkers for whom our fruity coffees are simply too abstract.”
I was in fact quite surprised to hear that Nord Coast’s espresso blend contains 40% Robusta since this type of coffee bean is often considered to be of lesser quality. “It’s hard to believe but the organic Robusta we use in our blend is almost more expensive than other Arabica coffees. I tried a lot of different ones before settling on the India Kaapi Royal,” Jörn explained. After taking a sip of the doppio he served me I understood why his more traditional customers might prefer this kind of coffee. It has a lot of body.
Naturally, Jörn also offers a nice selection of other single origins roasted for espresso and filter such as one of our personal favourites, the Tanzania Akmeni from Hoppenworth and Ploch. The bar itself is made up of wood and a giant concrete plate that was designed to accomodate a brew bar, a cake and sandwich display and a state of the art Kees van der Westen Spirit. It’s obvious that Jörn and Paula went all out.
The 6kg Giesen coffee roasters sits right by the window, offering passers by a great opportunity to watch Jörn at work when he’s busy roasting twice a week. Upstairs consists of several large tables and an inviting leather couch.
“We definitely consider ourselves to be a third wave coffee business but given our location and customer preferences, we also have to cater to them. That is why our offering is a bit more unconventional but we like it this way,” Jörn told me as we concluded our chat. Way to go!