Overall, I HIGHLY recommend going, it's my favorite coffee shop in Baden-Baden, and no place I've been in all Germany roasts as well...
THAT said, here are some pro tips since I live here a lot of the year, and know a thing or two about coffee:
The GREAT at Kaffee Sack:
- The coffee is really great, best in the area BY FAR, and sort of on par with some top US west coast roasters.
- Latte art is great.
- Prices are quite good, especially beans (they also grind if you ask). For pourovers and aeropress, they are quite high priced, but it's German labor and they do an extraordinary job (but but see downside below)
- The recently remodeled interior is small and intimate, but very nice with some urban flair, similar to US coffee roasting environments with tiny collective spaces, and added European flair...but sometimes hard to find seating esp in winter when the outside is closed off, since it is very small
- If you come from the US and are a coffee snob who regularly goes to local roasters, you might find it kind of like an average roaster, but for Germany, believe me, it is extraordinary!
- No WIFI. But that's fine you won't miss it. It's small, so it's not a place to go hang out for a day and work/read. Instead, the upside to this is that it's very common to get into talks with people.
- For some reason, German water makes coffee taste a bit different, even when bringing beans from the US. I haven't put my alchemy skills to use on this issue yet, though...maybe distilled water with some specific minerals (like Starbucks does) is the anwer. I like US coffee far better than German as a result, BUT taking beans from my favorite US roaster to Germany is NOT a solution, because the water is the issue.
- The roasters / owners at Kaffee Sack seem really super engaged and are very nice guys (but also very opinionated which is fine). They also start right off using the informal way of greeting ("du" instrad of "Sie") which I don't mind, and no American would notice or care about, but some Germans don't exactly appreciate, as it can be seen as disrespectful (especially among older people). So it seems they are trying to appeal primarily to the same demographic as US roasters...the young urban customer. And their customers seem like really cool people for the most part, I would guess less than half of them are tourists.
The downsides of the Kaffee Sack:
- I wish they had a bigger selection of organic coffee beans, it seems they place no value on that...but I know some US roasters who are the same way. It is tough to balance the health factors and the bean quality (considering "organic" has become a pay-to-play business in the 3rd world). But still, I'm always hesitant to buy non organic coffees.
- The baristas at Kaffee Sack seem to think there is only one "right way" to enjoy coffee, and so they give customers "guidence" that turns into "lectures" about why you shouldn't ever add dairy to pourovers and aeropress coffee because of acidity, bla bla bla, etc...So despite charging like around €5 a cup, they want to then tell you what you are allowed to do with it.. It totally rubs Americans the wrong way, especially since the US roasters are leagues ahead of anything in Europe, but they don't get it in Germany that how to drink coffee is a matter of PERSONAL taste....Germany in general is a place where the "data" trumps individual preference, and service is low on priority lists, so those 2 things combined tend to rub Americans the wrong way... But I understand these roaster guys... They're very committed to their craft, so it's their thing. Which is good. But I mostly buy beans anymore, and take them home and prepare them myself exactly how I like them, namely with a tiny bit of cream on top.
- They have no service bar where you can add your own cream, half and half, sugar, etc (see above point). In fact, they say they don't even have cream or half and half in their entire shop! I've been to a lot of top roasters, but that is a first for me.
- They are quite unflexible when it comes to ordering custom things not on the menu, but they sometimes make exceptions for espresso drink variations (eg. cortados are not on the menu, but they usually have no problem making you one).
- They have a very small assortment of sweets to go along with coffee, that changes every week...All is great stuff and I honestly always find something that looks appealing, but note that there is not much selection. If coffee is secondary, and you're going mainly for the selection of cake and sweets, rather go to Böckler down the road, or Cafe König across the Leopoldsplatz, both make excellent pastries, but mediocre coffee. Or grab something at Böckler and bring it up to Kaffee Sack and get your coffee rather at Kaffee Sack. I don't think that would offend anyone.
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