A portrait // 19grams Alex
With the TV Tower above, you enter the Hackesche Meile, a traditional and peculiar street in Mitte, the vast glass facade of the newly opened coffee shop, 19grams Alex, are bright and new and open to a huge space that is nothing but modern and light. So what’s the story behind this place and how did in end up here?
19grams Alex is the latest coffee shop of Tres Cabezas, one of Berlin’s oldest coffee roasting companies, opened just this summer. To create a space that is roast house, coffee shop, and headquarters all in one was the dream of the two company founders. 16 years ago they met in South America and spun the idea to bring the flavor and coffee of Costa Rica to Germany. So right there on the beach, Tres Cabezas was born and they opened their first coffee shop in Berlin-Friedrichshain and since then have run their business modestly, almost with understatement.
In the beginning the space was nothing but one huge, empty room and it took some imagination and a great interior to create what we see and feel now. As it was clear that it will be a combination of coffee shop and roasting house they went for a modern room in room concept with transparency as the key idea in the concept, one of the main reasons the space is what is today.
Next to the vast guest room with the barista bar and counter is an open kitchen, and on the other side the roastery and a training and cupping room set in a huge container – a reference to the way the coffee beans travel to Germany – separated only through glass walls. Everything is open and see-through, but you can still close the doors to work, because it is a functioning and running roastery after all: The huge black machine is prominently in the middle of the room but the technique and everything that makes dirt or noise is downstairs in the basement. A so-called guest-room with glass walls and doors that can be closed on both sides can be used for meeting and guests and offers more privacy.
The prevailing materials are raw or brushed steel and oak wood and pay homage to craftsmanship. The interior is a combination of new works from local manufacturers and original vintage pieces from Berlin; chairs, lamps and benches from the original S-Bahn were updated and found their way into the space, a reference to the direct surroundings and another reason 19grams Alex feels like home. But still, it is not old-fashioned cozy due to the glass walls and the overall minimalistic color concept, which gives it a modern and clean touch. Few decorative elements like banana wallpaper, pickled pineapple tops on the menu or a surfboard nod to the history in Costa Rica. Despite its vastness and modernity it is personal and makes guests feel comfortable.
Through the great connection with Costa Rica – they work with the same farmers since 15 years and established and developed the coffee together – their coffee beans have an outstanding quality. With the new roasting house and a new roaster in charge of the process and development, the brand took a huge step forward in terms of specialty coffee and roasting finesse. A refined menu with both espresso and filter roast per origin that caters to all customer wishes contains commodity coffee that is more approachable, but also more refined taste profiles.
19grams Alex is offering not only bloody good coffee, but also an outstandingly friendly service and great food, too. On the seasonally changing menu are dishes with a special twist, like. the zucchini carbonara, with a cashew cheese sauce, smoked tempeh, cherry tomato, and mixed leaves, and classics like sardines on toast or eggs benedict, and many vegetarian and vegan choices too. The ingredients are sourced freshly and from local partners wherever possible. As well as breakfast and brunch there are homemade cakes, sweets or pastries, baked daily in their own bakery in Friedrichshain. (Try the Granola bar, it’s delicious!) There’s beer on tap, too, and naturally on the shelves are freshly roasted beans to bring some Costa Rican flavour to your home. Enjoy!
It is almost brave to open a huge space like that in a somewhat quiet spot. It is the middle of Berlin and the buzzing and hip streets of Mitte are just a few steps away, yet still it is a whole different atmosphere and the direct neighbours are the supermarket, a parking lot, and a traditional old school steak house restaurant. Yet this actually adds to the charm and uniqueness of 19grams Alex, as this exact contrast is what makes Berlin so special, too. Next summer the huge outside area will be transformed into a proper beer garden with lampions, huge tables, and a lot of German Gemütlichkeit.
Hackesche Meile / Karl-Liebknecht Straße 13, Berlin Mitte