westberlin + what makes a delightful coffee experience

by Heidi Obermeyer

Right now I am on a mid-2000’s kick and am listening to Avril Lavigne. There is no quicker way to feel like you’re in junior high school again than to listen to songs that you haven’t listened to since you bought them on an actual CD. Now all I need to do is replenish my supply of overpowering floral body sprays and start wearing striped polo shirts again to make the regression complete!

It was Easter last weekend. In Germany, that means a few things- one, that dancing is technically illegal on Good Friday (at least in Bavaria… I’ve heard mixed reports on the legality of dancing in Berlin), two, that I had a four-day weekend, and three, that everything is closed for three of those four days off. Which makes those days slightly less satisfying, but nonetheless useful for sleeping in.

Easter also meant that some of the TAMily came to visit! So Katelyn and I went to explore the hipstery goodness that Berlin has to offer. One of our stops was at westberlin, a coffee shop near Checkpoint Charlie that is great. I’d been meaning to go for a while since it’s close to my usual stomping grounds in town, so it was cool to finally find the place.

I am no coffee expert, but I give cafés and coffee shops the Heidi stamp of approval based on a few key characteristics, such as the following:

1. The baristas have to be a good mixture of hip, knowledgeable, and friendly. In Europe I set the bar lower and find the baristas to be acceptable if they are successfully NOT a total prick to you. Bonus points are given for being helpful to tourists.

2. The coffee needs to be good. A no-brainer. Have some standards people! Latté art isn’t just there to be pretty, it also means that your (aforementioned super-nice) barista pulled a good espresso shot and steamed the milk correctly. I have no patience for badly made coffee and you shouldn’t either.

3. The café environment itself needs to have something to offer. Generally this comes in the form of comfy chairs, plentiful outlets or tables, good people watching, intriguing interior decorating, or excellent cakes. It can even be as simple as a cute barista who, like, totally must have made that heart in your drink on purpose. Eeeee! Again, the European exception here must be made on the plentiful outlets requirement. The Germans still have not caught on to the whole squatting-for-wifi-in-a-café thing yet and it’s a blessing and a curse.

westberlin passes my tests with flying colors. Big enough to probably have a free table for you, fairly friendly baristas, a delightful array of baked goodies, comfy chairs, and interior design features that make you want to post everything in your surroundings on Pinterest means it gets an A+. I had a cappuccino and Katelyn and I split a slice of carrot cake, although everything looked appetizing. They had a nice flower arrangement sitting on the counter, and I am so curious- what are those long-stemmed poppy-like flowers? I really like them, but don’t know what they’re called. On my list of potential apprenticeship fields that could also be my occupation in a romantic comedy taking place in small town America or Great Britain: arranging flowers, welding, and carpentry.

More Easter weekend pictures to come soon! We did a lot of exploring so there’s lots to show you. Did you do anything fun over the weekend? Is there another good coffee shop you think I should try in Berlin? I wish I had decorated eggs for Easter so I could have tried all the crazy projects I saw on Pinterest. By the way, here’s a pretty song for you to listen to today. Happy beginning of April everyone! 🙂

westberlin • Friedrichstrasse 215, 10969 Berlin • U-bahn: Kochstraße