Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post. I reached out to the owners of Cavolo Nero as, in my opinion, they make the best flat white in Berlin and have some pretty amazing pastries I’m sure my readers will love as much as I do.
Many of my newer readers may not know this about me, but I lived in Australia for 3 years after college. In Melbourne, one of the world’s coffee capitals, to be precise. And that’s how I became a total coffee snob, leaving Starbucks behind in favour of third wave cafes and latte art. It took me a while, but I’m very happy to say I finally found the best flat white in Berlin at a small Italian bistro on Brunnenstraße called Cavolo Nero. So I decided to interview the guys behind the cafe as part of my series, Berlin Stories.
But first off, what is a flat white?
Simply put, a flat white is similar to a latte, but with a higher coffee to milk ratio. As an absolute caffeine junkie, you can imagine that I am a fan of more coffee. But what I love the most about flat whites are their velvety texture.
Australians and New Zealanders argue over which country invented the flat white. One legend goes somewhat like this: a barista in the mid-80s ruined a cappuccino, served is as a novelty called “flat white”, and the name stuck.
Since then, the flat white has slowly started making its way around the world, becoming popular in other English-speaking countries. However, it is still a challenge to find something overseas that qualifies. So I definitely don’t take the term “best flat white in Berlin” lightly!
How I discovered Cavolo Nero
I first visited Cavolo Nero on one of those rare days where (shh!) I needed a double breakfast. It was rainy, I was tired, I was wandering Brunnenstraße looking for a caffeine hit before going to the office. I just stumbled upon Cavolo Nero, saw that a flat white was on the menu, and decided to order it. I also couldn’t resist one of the jam-filled croissants.
Since then, I’ve gone back to this cute bistro for lunch (Lasagna!) or just when I needed a break from being a marketing manager. Cavolo Nero serves breakfast, food, and drinks with lovely indoor and outdoor seating areas.
Interview with Julian & Fausto, co-owners of Cavolo Nero
Berlin & Around: who are you? Tell us in 30 words or less (including where you are from).
Cavolo Nero: We’re Julian and Fausto, originally from Birmingham, UK and Umbria, Italy respectively. We share a passion for basketball and traditional Italian food and wine and so decided to open a small bistro a year ago.
Berlin & Around: why did you move to Berlin? What made you stay?
Cavolo Nero: In our younger days (not that we’re old now!), we were drawn to Berlin by its varying array of vibes (depending on the Kiez) which gave a sense of having the world at your doorstep. Interestingly, now that we’re (slightly) older, it’s also true that Berlin is a great place to raise a young family (especially when you compare it to other capital cities across Europe).
Berlin & Around: what do you love about Berlin? What do you NOT love?
Cavolo Nero: Berlin in the summertime (fun, relaxed and creative) vs Berlin and during the winter (serious, moody and drab). It still amazes us how much the city and people change with the seasons!
Berlin & Around: do you have any Berlin tips for newcomers?
Cavolo Nero: I think the sheer size of Berlin can be a little overwhelming for some at first, but the mix of trams, S-/U-bahn, buses and trains can seem a little confusing. Downloading the BVG app is a great way to avoid getting lost and navigate this wonderful city at any time of day or night.
Berlin & Around: what’s your favorite cafe or restaurant?
Cavolo Nero: We’ve heard there’s this great Italian bistro in Mitte called Cavolo Nero that is definitely worth checking out 😉 In addition, one of the many great things about Berlin is the vast array of high quality cuisines and offerings – a couple of favourites include Mr Hai for at Olivaerplatz (Charlottenburg) and Antonello’s on the Nostitzstrasse (Kreuzberg)
Berlin & Around: where’s your favorite neighborhood – or even better, favorite street – and why?
Cavolo Nero: We’re clearly biased but we love the Brunnenstrasse as it connects the vibrant residential area of Wedding, the important historical significance of the wall memorials and the buzzing modernity of Torstrasse. A special mention also must go to Karl Marx Allee for its imposing, yet functional, architecture.
Berlin & Around: do you have a funny Berlin story?
Cavolo Nero: Leaving a bike unlocked (keys in lock) for over a week by mistake and still finding it in the same place does happen in Berlin. Having realised this mistake and locking the bike, it was promptly stolen the following day!
Keep up with the makers of the best flat white in Berlin
You can follow Cavolo Nero on Instagram and Facebook or simply pay them a visit at Brunnenstraße 158.
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