I have been stomping round Berlin in the past couple of weeks more than usual without my bike, this has caused me to pass through a few more train stations than normal and take a little more notice of the streets. On my travels I have noticed a worrying rash of Starbucks being built, there is one opening in Alexander Platz station, one in OstBanhof and there is also one that opened up a couple of months ago in the Potsdamer Platz Sony Centre. Now when I was in London we had a Starbucks in the bottom of our building and with no other coffee shop within a decent walking distance that wasn’t another chain we used it all the time. It was a nice little Starbucks and the friendly staff got to know us quickly, I enjoyed going there but was aware that it wasn’t the best coffee available. This brings me to Starbucks in Berlin, I can probably count the number of times I have been to one here on my fingers and it has never been a particularly enjoyable coffee experience, actually the last time I went it left me feeling more than a little ill for the rest of the day.
So my simple plea is this, Berlin is chock full of great independent coffee shops and cafes. They are normally easier to find than the big chains, now I know it can be intimidating when you are travelling and sometimes you just want what you know. But, I urge you to walk past the Starbucks to any of the cafes on the same street and you will get a much better coffee and a much cheaper bill. They will also have a toilet, most will have WiFi and they will not care how long you sit there, I promise.