Ice cubes are clinking in my glass as I swirl it in my hands while contemplating the dark brown liquid. It’s a hot summer day in Cologne and what looks like a certain carbonated sweet caffeine kick with plenty of sugar actually is a refreshing glass of coldbrew – a coffee brewed cold overnight.
Not too long ago, German cafés served a simple pot of filter coffee with condensed milk, or maybe a cappuccino from a fully automatic machine. Think “Only served in the pot outside!”. Fortunately, those times are in the past , at least in the major cities of NRW. No matter if you prefer your coffee as Flat White, Pour Over, or Iced Latte: Every quarter here has plenty of shops that are serious about speciality coffee. Some of them even roast and import their own beans. Giovanna Coffee in Cologne is one such shop.
It’s a hot day in June when I visit the two founders, Gio and Anna, in their small but refined café. Giovanna is situated in the quiet Greek quarter between Neumarkt and Barbarossaplatz. “We ended up here by coincidence, and we love it very much. This place in the central yet quiet street is an absolute stroke of luck,” says Anna.
In fact, the two founders Gio and Anna have been making coffee for more than a decade. While Anna is a system caterer, barista, and roaster, Gio’s background is in sustainable agriculture. She takes care of roasting and has been importing coffee herself from her native Ecuador since early 2020.
It all started with Giovanna in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. After recording for Anna’s Kaffeesahne Podcast together, the two decided to roast Gio’s coffee from Ecuador together and sell it through Anna’s online store. Giovanna was born.
They quickly understood that their coffee would be particularly well received if they made it possible to taste it before buying it online. They launched a crowdfunding campaign to implement their mix of a showroom, café, and online store back office in the spring of 2022.
By now, the small shop is open 5 days a week. In addition to the usual walk-in customers from the neighbourhood, many people come specifically to sample the individual varieties.
Giovanna is special because they not only offer Arabica coffee but also Canephora roasts, bringing a bean that is usually considered inferior to new glamour. “Canephora is usually tossed into an espresso blend for the chocolaty notes and crema, but would never be roasted as a dedicated variety,” Anna explains. Co-founder Gio recognised Canephora’s potential when she started importing coffee from her native Ecuador.
“Regular coffee drinkers who try high-quality coffee for the first time usually find Specialty Arabica too acidic and simply never find their way to truly good coffee. Our coffee fills this gap a little,” says Anna. Canephora is not as acidic, which makes it more digestible. Of course, I immediately try the coffee and truly do find it pleasantly mild and nutty. Since it is an “omniroast”, the coffee can be drunk both as a mild espresso and as a strong filter coffee.
The two founders are active in a number of women’s networks in the coffee scene. Upon opening their store, it was also important to them to hire female-led small businesses for design, interiors, and ceramics.
“We are still working in a male domain. This is evident at the roasting machine as well as in importing. Women are becoming more visible, however,” says Gio.
Giovanna not only allows you to taste and buy coffee, but also to try your own hand at being a barista and in latte art. Anna periodically teaches workshops for this in the store.
I am certainly hooked on Canephora coffee and immediately took a package home with me. I am now a regular when I am staying in Cologne, too.
Kleiner Griechenmarkt 33
Open Tuesdays – Fridays, 10 AM -6 PM, and Saturdays, 10 AM – 4 PM
Other great cafés in Cologne:
Kaffee Ernst in Sülz or in the Südstadt
A nice place to linger in the middle of the Südstadt. Make sure to take along the apricot-thyme jam as a souvenir!
Blooming Coffee Roasters in the Greek Quarter
Just a stone’s throw away from Neumarkt and perfect for a quick, good cup of coffee with your morning newspaper
Zwoo Kiosk at the Ebertplatz
One of several Zwoo branches in town, the small kiosk supplies Ebertplatz square with Iced Latte
Van Dyck Coffee in Ehrenfeld
Stylish, more stylish, Van Dyck Coffee in Ehrenfeld.