Im Innenraum der Van Dyck Espressobar in Köln vermischen sich der Charme eines früheren Frisörsalons mit dem Duft von frischem Kaffee.
The interior of the Van Dyck espresso bar is a blend of old-style hair salon charm and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee © Van Dyck

Cologne – where good coffee is never far away

Perfectly coiffured coffee in a former hairdressing salon, an artistic finish to your latte and Colombia so close you can taste it… Cologne has a wide selection of very distinctive coffee-roasting shops and cafés. The people behind them exude a creative passion about their craft on a level usually reserved for beer in this city. But it doesn’t always have to be a beer: wherever you are in Cologne, a good coffee is never far away despite this being the city that gave the world Kölsch!

HEILANDT coffee shop, Belgian Quarter: latte art pioneers

Die Heiland Kaffeemanufaktur ist ein Café in Köln. Gäste haben vor dem Café im Belgischen Viertel Platz genommen
Photo: ©2021 #TOM TRAMBOW Projekt: Heilandt Kaffeemanufaktur Belgisches 2

Every cup of coffee should be a work of art, according to Moritz Eylandt, and that really is the essence of what drives him and his partners, Marc Paluch and Heiko Schmidt. The three friends met as students and embarked on a never-ending quest for the perfect roast, setting up their own café, HEILANDT, in 2010.

Latte art was standard here before anyone else had ever heard of it

Their journey started on Bismarckstraße in Cologne’s Belgian Quarter. In their first shop, they did the roasting themselves and celebrated coffee culture in front of an audience. They even established a unique selling point: latte art. The concept wasn’t very well-known at the time (not in Cologne, at least) but every single cup of coffee at HEILANDT came with a foam heart on top even back then.

Today, the HEILANDT team have several shops across the city centre and they run courses on barista basics and latte art. They’ve been roasting their beans in the district of Ehrenfeld for ten years now but they’ve kept their original place, where everything started, in the Belgian Quarter of Cologne. Even though it always seems to be full there, the café has an extremely laidback vibe – a place where you can take your time and enjoy your coffee the way you want it. HEILANDT doesn’t do dogma. Even if you feel you have to take the old-school approach and make your espresso in a filter coffee maker, Moritz stresses, “None of us would say ‘Ugh, you can’t do that’. If that’s the way you like it, that’s absolutely fine.”  

HEILANDT coffee shop, Bismarckstraße 41, 50672 Cologne,

Gallery 4: direct trade coffee from Colombia

“I don’t drink coffee to wake up. I wake up to drink coffee” – that’s the mindset at Gallery 4, an outwardly unassuming place on the fringes of Cologne’s Südstadt district. As soon as you place your order, you realise that coffee is a mission for these people. The barista asks tentatively whether I want oat or dairy, before going on to explain how the taste of the coffee develops depending on the milk you use (dairy is apparently the way to go if you want to get the full flavour) – and we’re down to proper coffee talk straight away.

Roasted in Columbia – Savoured in Cologne

Ultimately, the barista discreetly leaves it up to the customer – a sign of quality in itself. The café, founded in Cologne in 2021, is also home to an art gallery and a shop. Not only do they serve great espresso and cappuccino at Gallery 4, their coffee comes with a special “origin story” too. The beans for their speciality coffee are roasted in Colombia, where co-founder Luis Miguel Sanchez Martinez grew up.

Luis Miguel knows exactly how tough coffee production is because his father used to have a coffee farm. Gallery 4 trades directly with farmers to promote fairer conditions and ensure an economic benefit for the people back in Colombia. You can feel and taste the love they put into the product: Colombia, Cologne and coffee, all in one cup.

Gallery 4, Lindenstr. 73, 50674 Cologne,

VAN DYCK espresso bar: award-winning interior design

Van Dyck blends the minimalist aesthetic of a former hairdressing salon with the perfection of exquisite coffee roasting. Photo: © Van Dyck

You’ll find VAN DYCK tucked away in a narrow side street with hip boutiques (Ehrenfeld wouldn’t be Ehrenfeld without them nowadays) alongside a good old-fashioned Kölsch pub. And the mishmash of past and present is a fitting location for this long and narrow espresso bar with its immaculately tiled walls and a retro-style neon sign. This place has a history of its own – it used to be pervaded by the smell of perms, not coffee. Its days as a hairdressing salon may well be long over, but you still get a sense of times gone by in this trendy café, which won the prestigious “AIT Award” for its interior design in 2012.

Even the name, VAN DYCK, is steeped in history. It’s a reference to the preferred shade of brown of Flemish painter Anthonis van Dyck, which is also exactly the shade of an ideal VAN DYCK coffee. Monika Linden and Martin Kess set up their roasting shop in Ehrenfeld in 2010 with a more or less modest aim – to make the type of coffee they themselves like best.

A tasteful(l) selection to choose from

Today, there’s a large roasting shop in the city’s Mülheim neighbourhood and another café on Severinstraße. But the Ehrenfeld espresso bar, with stools reminiscent of hairdressing chairs, is a good place to have your first VAN DYCK flavour experience and try all the different types. Whether you go for Adorno, Horkheimer, Herzblut or (caffeine-free) Libero, it’s worth taking home at least one real VAN DYCK product. It’ll take no more than three espressos for you to feel a blissful buzz and, with all that caffeine in your blood, you might even be ready for the first Kölsch of the day!

VAN DYCK espresso bar, Körnerstraße 43, 50823 Cologne,

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