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Coffee House Culture in Leipzig

Enjoy coffee in Leipzig

A bird's eye view of the counter in Café Kandler at St. Thomas Church, coffee house culture, gastronomy in Leipzig
Café Kandler © Dirk Brzoska

Leipzig's coffee tradition

Coffee and Leipzig belong together.
In Leipzig, the first coffee house musicians in Germany entertained their guests: Georg Philipp Telemann made music in the coffee houses on the market place, together with the Collegium musicum which was founded in 1701. Johann Sebastian Bach visited the Zimmermann coffee house in Katharinenstraße twice a week. His coffee cantata is considered the highlight of Saxon coffee house music.

In addition to the Parisian "Café Procope", the oldest continuously open coffee house in Europe can be found in Leipzig. Adam Heinrich Schütze opened the Baroque "Coffe Baum" in Kleine Fleischergasse 4 in 1694 and served coffee for the first time. Over the next three centuries, many intellectual greats met here and enjoyed this popular drink. On the third floor today isone of the most important coffee museums in the world

Blümchenkaffee ("little flower" coffee)

But how does one drink coffee in Leipzig? "Sieße muss d'r Coffe sein", goes a saying - the coffee has to be sweet! The spoiled coffee Saxons disparagingly speak of "Plempe" when the caffeinated infusion is too weak. Since the coffee beans had to be counted in bad times, the guests were served so called "sword" coffee. The coffee was so weak that the blue swords at the bottom of the Meißen porcelain reflected through the liquid. Since 1729 the term "Blümchenkaffee" has been used when the coffee is so weak that the bottom of the cup can be seen.

Coffee beans and Meißen porcelain are still connected with the coffee Saxons, who got their nickname from Frederick the Great in the Seven Years' War. Because they suffered under a shortage of coffee, the Saxons lacked the will to fight and refused to take up arms with the argument "We can't fight without coffee!".

A woman is ordering at the counter in Café Corso, coffee house culture, gastronomy in Leipzig
© Andreas Schmidt

For over a 100 years, the family-owned company has been based in Leipzig. Today the business produces confectionery products to the highest standard, just as it did back then. All Corso productsare made by hand.

The highest standards of quality and handling of exquisite ingredients are the maxim. The skills and years of experience are reflected in thefirst-class gateaus, cakes and pastries, which excite every gourmet's taste buds.

The production of "stollen" and other Christmas biscuits plays a special role. In addition, Corso is one of the few remaining pastry shops in Germany which produces "Baumkuchen", a layered cake, exclusively by hand With the reunification of Germany, the wish of the Fischer family became reality and the company was family owned once again. Now "Corsoela" continues its long-standing tradition.

Three women are sitting at a table in Café Grundmann, coffee house culture, gastronomy in Leipzig
© Dirk Brzoska

Since its founding in 1919, Café Grundmann, located on August-Bebel-Straße 2, has enjoyed great cultural significance. Stammtisch gatherings, readings and chanson and jazz evenings take place here. Since its opening, the establishment has been managed without interruption by the confectionery masters who gave the café its name. Conversion to the Art Deco style took place in 1930. Between 1998 and 2000, the dilapidated building was completely reconstructed.

Café Grundmann is today the last real "Viennese Café" in Leipzig and one of the few coffee houses in the German-speaking world completely preserved in its Art Deco style. It impresses with its simple furnishings: Lime green ceilings and dark wood furniture create a pleasant atmosphere.

The menu of coffee specialities is long. A must are the gateaus, which are produced in the in-house confectionery and presented in a show case at the entrance of the establishment. The guest room boasts 100 indoor seats, and 50 additional outdoor seats in fine weather.

Café Kandler from outside, opposite the St. Thomas Church, coffee house culture, gastronomy in Leipzig
© Dirk Brzoska

Since 1989, Café Kandler has combined tradition, style and the typical Leipzig coffee house charm into a unique place for connoisseurs.

The Kandler Cafés are a "sweet" meeting point for lovers of exclusive cakes, gateaus, ice cream from the confectioner and also coffee and tea specialities. Here, you will be offered coffee house culture at the highest possible standard.

You will enjoy a fine selection of delicacies such as "Baumkuchen", tarts, biscuits, "Leipziger Lerchen", "Bachtaler" and fine chocolates in exclusive quality, distributed around the most beautiful places in Leipzig.

The traditional coffee houses are centrally located in the city centre at St. Thomas Church and the St. Nicholas Church. Find more restaurants with a light fresh wind on Pier 1 at the Zörbiger Hafen of Lake Cospuden, in the Wildpark as well as in the world-famous Leipzig Zoo.

The listed interior of Kaffeehaus Riquet, coffee house culture, café, gastronomy in Leipzig, architecture
© Dirk Brzoska

The business premises in Schuhmachergässchen 1 were built in 1908/09 on behalf of the company Riquet & Co. At that time, it one of the most modern and original new buildings in Leipzig.

The trading tradition of the company Riquet with East Asia and the Orient dates back to 1745. The architect Paul Lange realised this in an imaginative way in the architecture of the café. He mimicked the double-decker cambered roof tower of classical Chinese architecture. The parapets, pillars, main cornice and round gable are decorated with beautiful coloured mosaics in the Art Nouveau style. Two copper elephant heads flanking the front door to the coffee house represent the trademark of Riquet.

The protected interior of the café has been returned to its full beauty after restoration in 1996. Since then, the operators have revived the tradition of the old coffee houses. As a lover of coffee, tea and cakes, you are guaranteed to miss this coffee house as soon as you leave, and long to revisit it.

Fresco above the entrance to Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum, building front, museum, gastronomy in Leipzig, restaurant, coffee house culture, café
© Philipp Kirschner

The Coffe Baum is one of the oldest, originally preserved "coffee temples" of Europe . Johann Lehmann acquired the building in Fleischergasse in 1717 and converted it into a coffee house. One year after his death in 1720, his widow opened the Café Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum.

The sandstone sculpture above the portal is famous. An Ottoman with a large jug offers Amor a cup of coffee. It symbolises the encounter of the Christian Occident with the Islamic Orient.

After restoration and renovation from 1991 to 1998, you can fully experience the four-storey building once again. Each of the rooms tells its own story. They give you a good impression of the hustle and bustle of the Coffe Baum's regulars back then. On the left side of the ground floor is the Schumann room, furnished with bourgeois rustic furniture. Between 1828 and 1844 the composer Robert Schumann was a regular visitor in this room. On the third floor is a coffee museum.

Leipzig's great coffee tradition

Video about coffee house culture and tradition in Leipzig, gastronomy in Leipzig, café

Enjoying coffee in Leipzig in our blog

The sales counter in Café Grundmann, a hotspot for Coffee House Culture in Leipzig, gastronomy
© Daniel Koehler

In our blog, we show you how coffee lovers get their fix in Leipzig.

Cafés in Leipzig