German Coffee and Culture
Germany is most commonly famed as the land of artisanal beer and fairytale-esque castles, but did you know that coffee is a huge part of the culture too? Germany is one of the top importers of coffee and also consistently make the top 25 of most coffee consuming countries in the world.
This love of coffee didn’t just spring out of nowhere either, German coffee has a rich history that’s bursting with fascinating facts. Keep reading and find out why it was once ruled as illegal and discover the unique coffee types that have been created in the coffee hotspot.
History of German coffee
Germany opened its first ever coffee house in Hamburg in 1679. At this time, coffee houses were a place for both men and women to meet friends and sit down and chat, so much so that the phrase “kaffeeklatsch” was coined, meaning coffee and gossip.
Coffee became illegal
Coffee proved so popular in Germany that it began to directly impact the beer industry and sales fell dramatically. Fredriech II of Hohenzollern, King of Prussia, wasn’t pleased by this development so he set to monopolise coffee roasters and eventually ruled both possession and consumption of coffee as illegal, a law that stayed in place until he died in 1786.
A rare luxury in WWII
German coffee once again fell on hard times during the Second World War where it became next to impossible to find. So impossible, in fact, that people started making the beverage out of acorns, chicory and grain!
The invention of the coffee filter
It may surprise you to learn that the humble coffee filter owes its existence to a German woman called Melitta Bentz. She created the first ever coffee filter for a coffee machine in the early 20th century as she got fed up of discovering coffee dregs in the bottom of her cup. She experimented with different methods until she found the perfect one and in 1908, she patented the filter for the cafetière and produced it with her husband’s help.
German coffee culture today
Today, German coffee consumption is back in full swing and the beverage is typically served as coffee and cake or “kaffee and kuchen” as it’s called in the native tongue. Usually enjoyed late afternoons, on holidays and Sundays.
German coffee types
Due to Germany’s deep love of the beverage, it should come as no surprise to learn that they’ve also had their hand in creating their own specialty German coffee types over the years. Take a look at a few of the beverages you may encounter in coffee shops across the country below: