“To speak of coffee as homogeneous in nature is to ignore its very essence.” is one of the statements you can read at the back of a little card that you get together with your coffee of choice at Törnqvist. The choices you can make at Tōrnqvist are limited, but of very high quality.
When I went to this café on a quiet Thursday afternoon to meet with a friend, I didn’t quite know what to expect. All I knew was that we would meet at 3pm, at Neuer Pferdemarkt 12. As it is widely known, Hamburg’s Schanzenviertel is a vibrant part of the city, full of thrift shops and several cool and vintage cafés and bars. Tōrnqvist, however, is not one of your ‘favourite cafés’ where you meet with an old friend to chat about your childhood over two Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. Oh no. You won’t find any old wing chairs, cute cupcakes with a pink ribbon or brownies on a turquoise plate.
Tōrnqvist is about coffee in its perfection. Sticking to their motto, ‘less is more’, you will get your coffee served in a beautiful white ceramic mug on a simple black board and with a card, presenting all the details about the name, origin, variety, roaster and harvest of the coffee bean that was used. The rest is more minimalistic than detailed. The interior design is held simple with white walls, white tables, wooden stools and a couple green plants. At the centre of attention, however, are definitely the black counters in the middle of the room, again a very “plain” design, but with very special coffee machines, which you can simply not ignore.
The baristas are not only friendly and charming but they also know what they’re doing. They “[…] recognise coffee as a complex fruit with twice as many aromas as wine. [Their] menu is changed every two weeks according to the current harvest season” and they’re always up for chats and a passionate exchange of coffee knowledge. Although the menu isn’t all too vast, it is more than enough to make the heart of a true coffee lover beat a little faster. You can choose between a shot, a flat white and filter coffee. They additionally offer hot chocolates, lattes, teas and amazing handmade bread, cakes, and other baked goods for breakfast and brunch.
Tōrnqvist is only partially new to Hamburg. Its doors swung open on the 12th of October this year, but it has been around for quite some time as a pop up café at various places, for example in St. Pauli. But their very first Flat White was brewed on the 15th October 2015 at the back of a van on the marketplace in Varel, a small town at the northern coast of Germany. Linus, the owner of Tōrnqvist, started his business with a mobile speciality coffee shop and has now, three years later, fulfilled his dream. “And the coffee back then, was the same [they] are working with today – Hunkute, a wonderful delicate Ethiopian with pleasing notes of Apricot, Green Tea, Ripe Lemon Zest, and Vanilla, roasted in Stockholm by Drop Coffee”.
The word tōrnqvist orginates from the Scandinavian word for thorn branch, but this place is everything else but a thorn in the flesh. It is a place where you just feel at home. The simplistic design surprisingly doesn´t deliver a cold, but a very cosy and down to earth atmosphere. And in addition to that the quality of the coffee and the kind of people who work there will make you stop by whenever you can. Take that as a promise.
Laura was listening to “Bad Blood” by NAO while writing this article.