A cup of individuality

Taking a sip at Public Coffee Roasters

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Blond, fruity or a strong classical? Argin Keshishian is responding to the high-end coffee trend with solid barista craftsmanship – and is slowly but surely growing out of his little shop on Wexstrasse.


André Krüger

André Krüger drinks coffee, craft beer and gin. He likes to listen to music. Mostly jazz or classical music. Sometimes he writes about all that stuff.

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Photos: Roeler

Inner cities all over the world are becoming more and more homogeneous. An H&M here, a Cartier there. The trend has not left coffee untouched. Starbucks cafés everywhere you look. However, if you're pining for a little more individuality in your cup, you're in luck. Just five minutes' walk from the Nespresso boutique on Neuer Wall, there's Public Coffee Roasters.

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In the future the "Publics" will offer training programmes and barista courses in their own production facilities in Rothenburgsort.

The little café in Neustadt has been around since April 2014. Argin Keshishian founded it together with his then business partner Vejlko Tatalović. The two soon parted company. Vejlko is now running his own roasting house and coffee bar, Playground Coffee, in Grindel and a new Kaffeeklappe directly on Rathausmarkt. Argin, on the other hand, has remained true to Neustadt. “Our customers are a good mix of people who work in the area and regulars who live around Grossneumarkt. A lot of them come to us every day,” Argin tells us.

When you order your coffee at the bar you're spoilt for choice. In addition to three different espresso blends – from a blond, fruity one to a stronger classic variety – there's something to satisfy every taste. My flat white is decorated with a simple heart. No latte art frills, but solid barista craftsmanship. “Alongside the classics like cappuccino and latte macchiato, hand-brewed filter coffees are gaining more and more popularity,” says Dominic, the man behind the counter.

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They source raw coffee from importers of their trust.

The floor of the coffee bar is of dark wood and creaks as an old wooden floor should. Otherwise, everything here is new and colourful, jazz plays discreetly in the background. The café in Wexstrasse is small, barely holding 20 seats. On busy days you're lucky to find a space at one of the bright pink, green or blue metal-framed tables. But in any case, the best seats are at the front window. There, you can not only watch what's going on in the street, but also chill out and browse through a magazine. Thorsten Keller, a friend of the house and magazine fan, curates the “Coffee Table Mags”, a special shelf with a constantly changing selection of food, travel and design magazines. You can buy the coffee beans to take home, and the magazines as well.

Until recently, Public Coffee Roasters roasted its coffee at roasting house with which it had a friendly association. It now has its own production facilities in Rothenburgsort. Training programmes and barista courses will also be offered here in the future. The “Publics” source raw coffee from importers of their trust. The farmers are paid prices above the Fair Trade rate for good quality beans. “Sandra, who's employed here as head of production, will be going to a coffee-growing area for the first time. She'll be out there to build direct contacts in Guatemala with farmers we would like to work with more closely in the future,” says Argin, filled with anticipation.

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Apart from delicious coffee you can also get great magazines, curated by Thorsten Keller.

Argin and his team want to expand and open a second coffee bar before the year's out. The range of food will also be enhanced. However, there's no reason to fear that Public Coffee Roasters will ever become a big chain. Good coffee will always be the central focus. If you'd like to see for yourself, you're welcome to attend one of the monthly public cuppings. On the last Friday of every month, find out (among other things) why you should slurp as loudly as possible when tasting coffee.