Discovering new speciality coffeeshop HOME in Neukölln was a delight for us, especially because in addition to truly wonderful coffees, passionate owner Sarah Flanigan from New Zealand is serious about her fantastic food. Pretty much everything is completely homemade, from beautiful, crumbly scones & lemon curd to other cakes and regularly changing warm dishes. We popped a few questions over to her to find out a little more…
You’re from New Zealand – what made you decide to live in Berlin?
No particular reason, I wanted to spend some time living in Europe and didn’t want to move to the UK. I had visited Berlin briefly years before and it really stayed with me, so I thought I’d give it a go and see what could happen.
What is your background in coffee and what made you decide to venture out on your own?
As with many New Zealanders I had made coffee before but it wasn’t until I arrived in Berlin and stumbled into a job in the early days of The Barn when I really began to understand and appreciate coffee.
Do you think it’s any easier or more difficult to set up a café in Berlin than in your home country of New Zealand?
Hard to say as I personally cannot compare.
I think Berlin has a lot of appeal as it is still relatively affordable to set something up here.
While the quality and standard of cafes continues to steadily grow I don’t believe the market is oversaturated yet, perhaps like certain parts of New Zealand, therefore there is plenty of room for places like Home.
On the flip side, establishing something in your own culture, in a familiar environment no doubt has its benefits.
HOME is decorated in a beautifully simple, clean and bright style. Was there any inspiration behind this, and what was the refurbishment process like?
I wanted a place that was clean and simple but still comfortable. Not necessarily a collection of old/vintage styled furniture but also not too sterile and cold. The renovations took about three months, were done on a fairly modest budget and with a lot of help from dear friends.
Tell us about the name of the café – what does HOME mean to you?
Home was conceived after I sat down one day and wrote a list of all the aspects of life that I found fulfilling…. Eating, drinking, communing, breaking bread together, inviting people into my home, cooking for people, connecting with people, community and so forth.
That’s what gets me up in the morning.
Sure I appreciate a good coffee and wouldn’t sell or make a product that I am not proud of but what really motivates me is creating a space where people feel at home. Where the coffee is good, the food is real and the environment is authentic
Which coffee are you currently serving at HOME?
Many cafes buy food from suppliers to sell to customers, but you make everything from scratch, even your delicious lemon curd! This must be time consuming, but we imagine HOME is also a very personal business to you in which half of the enjoyment and reason for having the business is making the food yourself too. Is this accurate?
Yes yes, it is very personal!
And I suppose time consuming, but at least for myself I don’t see the point in doing it any other way. Yes I do enjoy baking and cooking, I find a great deal of contentment in the process. I would say homemade is an integral part of my concept without it I would find a lot less joy in my work.
How do you feel the coffee scene in Berlin is evolving… and what affect does this have for you?
I think it is great how the coffee scene in Berlin continues to evolve and develop. The community is really open and supportive, I am always happy to send customers down to similar cafes and appreciate I have plenty of friends who are owners, operators, roasters and baristas. It is a great community to be a part of and I only really see benefits to being a part of the current Berlin coffee scene. As mentioned earlier I feel there is plenty of room in Berlin for plenty more good cafes.
Your location for a speciality coffeeshop in a very quiet Neukölln neighbourhood is perhaps a little unusual, what made you decide to set up there?
I initially looked for locations around this part of Neukölln as I felt like the area would only continue to become more desirable. I have lived very close to the cafe for a few years now and see how the area continues to grow and develop.
I like the local feel, getting to know the Kiez, my neighbours and becoming a part of the local community.
When not working at HOME, which other Berlin coffeeshops would we likely find you in?
Ones that are open on Mondays! 🙂 Isla is a great newish spot for a coffee and some friendly staff, Father Carpenter always has super tasty food and of course great coffee and sipping on a cheap filter coffee while chatting with the older Turkish woman at my local bakery is always a treat.
Of course there are many other inviting looking spots popping up about town that I hope to get to in the near future!
What advice would you give to someone interested in opening a coffeeshop in Berlin?
Everyone will have an opinion, take advice for sure, be flexible, be open to learning, be open to failing.
But at the end of the day as much as possible do what makes you happy.
Where do you like to eat, drink and relax in Berlin?
There’s a great pizza place in Schillerkiez called Zio Felix, as well as having a range of tasty pizzas the staff are always warm and accommodating.
Horse, a craft beer bar on Allestr. is a good local to know.
And now the days are getting longer one can’t really pass up a stroll or evening beer in Tempelhof.
Complete the following sentence ‘ For me, Berlin is…”
We can’t recommend HOME: Coffee & Food highly enough – pop down for brunch or a Flat White and let us know what you think!
The address in is Jonasstraße 23, 12053 Berlin