A coffee shop with history and flavor
By Don Heimburger
Photos by the author or as noted
Wacker’s Kaffee is a third generation family-owned and run coffee shop in Frankfurt, Germany, which I heard about while on a city tour bus.
As the bus zipped past the small shop at Kornmart 9, I had just enough time to see its facade and notice all the customers lined up for coffee. The tour guide recommended the little establishment, which has been in business since 1914, or nearly 100 years.
It’s taken a while for me to actually “like” a good cup of strong German coffee, but now when I return to the U.S., I miss its rich flavor. So a taste-testing trip to this shop was in order, especially since I knew how to find it, and the small shop looked interesting.
When time allowed, it was back to the shop, and trying to squeeze in the shop among the other customers was a challenge. Customers were lined up both for coffee to drink right there—Germany hasn’t become tuned in yet to the term “to go”—and to buy coffee beans in bags.
FILLED WITH CUSTOMERS
The several tables outside were filled with customers in December savoring their hot cups of Wacker’s kaffee, while others at the inside counter were purchasing bags of coffee beans and other Wacker’s products (they sell coffee mugs and other coffee-related items).
To keep customers a bit warmer outside, the seats are covered in the burlap bags from the coffee beans, a nice touch.
In the rear of the shop, customers were crowded around several tables, enjoying their coffee and kuchen, which is also served.
The business began when Luise Wacker opened a coffee shop at the location in 1914. Previous to this, a store was located here where the famous writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe purchased his milk supplies.
Comments about the store on Trip Advisor include these two:
“Definitely the best coffee shop in Frankfurt. There are generally two lines, both often stretching out the door; the one on the left is for those who want to order drinks, while the one on the right is for those who want to buy coffee beans. The shop is also very small with limited seating, so when the weather is nice (or even just tolerable), you will see customers spread out both in front of the shop, and sitting on the stone wall across the street, enjoying their coffee and pastries.
“What non-German speakers may find intimidating is that, when the shop is quite busy, the cashier will shout out to customers further back in the line, asking them for their order. Luckily, the words for cappuccino, espresso and latte are generally the same in both English and German, so you should feel comfortable simply shouting your order back to her. “
Another customer said: “Great coffee. The smell is worth it alone.”
Wacker’s offers a long list of ready to drink coffees, and beans, so you’ll need a moment to figure out what you want. Coffee beans, available in bags of 500 grams each, include beans from Mexico, Java, India, Nicaragua, Galapagos, Cuba and Brazil, and expresso beans come from Jamaica, Guatemala, Costa Rica and other locations. I counted 40 bean types available from the shop.
Once your order is ready, you’ll be treated to some really good coffee, German-style!
For more information, go to www.wackers-kaffee.de.