Monday, 20 November 2023
The bigger conventional supermarkets seem to have at least a small selection of organic dry food, often conveniently assembled in a dedicated and marked shelf. But while obtaining a package of organic biscuits and tea bags is easy, you may wander a long way without spotting any opportunity to buy fresh fruits and veges, leave alone dairy products.
The first solution which may come to a traveller's mind is the upmarket department store of Sunday-open El Corte Ingles at São Sebastião tube stop. And indeed: In the middle of its food court there's a small organic shop-in-shop area with a separate fridge and a fresh fruits and vegetable section. Here I found the most expensive bottle of UHT milk I've seen so far, at a price tag of about 3.65 euros (fresh organic milk seems to be completely unavailable in Lisbon). Needless to say that the selection of dry food is very upmarket, including organic advent calendars before the Christmas season, so you will easily find a consumable gift, while you may breathe in deeply for the price tag of everyday food.
Good to know: There's a row of gravity bins from which you can fill unpackaged grains and nuts into your own containers, and the uncooled fruits and veges also come without packaging.
A small selection of shelled nuts as well as extremely tasty olives can be bought by the gram from Pigmeu da Ribeira, an upmarket delicatessen stall located in the central aisle between TimeOut and the traditional market at Mercado da Ribeira. Their main business is to offer a snack of cured meats, cheeses and olives from small-scale organic farms or a sandwich together with a glass of wine, everything extremely tasty and a pleasant alternative to much of the heavy food served in town.
But you can also buy bottles of natural wines, vacuum-packaged cured meat and cheeses, a small selection of preserves and seeds of flowers and vegetables. Everything here is organic, many products even biodynamic, but the price tag is quite heavy: The average bottle of wine goes between 20 and 30 euros, while the wage slip of the shop assistants remains at 800 to 900 euros a month for eight hours shifts.
From one of the people working here I got the crucial information that there is a small chain of 100 percent organic supermarkets in and around Lisbon: Miosotis. One of their branches is only a few steps away from El Corte Ingles, and it is huge.
The bakery booth, the fruits and vegetables section and a decent row of gravity bins with dry food support a zero-waste lifestyle. Whether you need body care products of household chemicals, want to buy a bottle of organic port wine, or seasonal sweets, this is the first address to go. They simply have everything organic you need – except for fresh milk.
As its counterparts in much of central Europe the supermarket has a self-serviced cafe cum restaurant offering lunch and snacks. It's however closed in the evening.
If you prefer small crammed health food shops, the Bomercado near Largo do Terreirinho (a mini tram stop of number 12E in the old town) may be for you. Given the size of the shop, the selection of fresh produce is limited, and there are probably more imported products from German organic producers than from Portuguese ones, but you will find both, sufficient food and body care to survive.
Clothes and textiles
Zero waste is not only about the packaging of products to consumate, but also about re-using and up-cycling of long-living goods such as clothes. When I walked the streets of São Antonio/Misericordia I noticed a shop window presenting linen shirts which at once left the impression of being both, comfortable and long-living. I came back to Stró the other day to discover that there was more to it: beautiful caps, scarfs and pillow cushions made from natural fibers only, linen, wool, and cosy cotton jersey. For the scarfs, caps and home textiles traditional re-used fabrics and fibres as well as vintage dead stock fabrics made in Portugal
are being used.
Given the quality and longevity of these products made by small-scale producers in inner Portugal, they are very reasonably prized, even cheap if you're going to use them for a decade or longer.
There's a second Stró shop almost around the corner, and if you should be unlucky enough to arrive at one of the shops during lunch break, head for its sister shop as their breaks are not overlapping.
[Lisbon, Lisboa, Lissabon, organic, zero_waste, unverpackt, cafe, grocery, supermarkets, deli, market, breakfast, lunch, coffee, snacks, bodycare, household, fashion]
Sunday, 05 November 2023
While buying organic requires only a little extra effort in Salzburg, minimising waste is an entirely different issue. If you wish to carry home your purchases in your own re-usable containers you depend on the cooperation of the shop, which (even in organic supermarkets) can be surprisingly little. The covid-19 pandemics marked the beginning as well as the end of the (to my knowledge) only dedicated organic pay-by-weight grocery, GenussProGramm (a pun which can be translated as both, "pleasure by the gram" or "pleasure program") in the neighbourhood of Andräviertel.
So what's left? As in other cities farmers' markets are a good bet: The Medousa market booth at the Grünmarkt opposite Fabi's Frozen Bio Yogurt within Mozart's birthplace offers to fill Italian-style antipasti and other mediterranean and vegetarian delicatessen into your jars, provided you ask for it. Although the market at Grünmarkt is held daily, there are no organic boothes on Mondays and Thursdays; the Medousa booth is here on Saturdays only. On Thursday mornings you can find it at the Schrannenmarkt opposite Mirabell castle.
At the Schrannenmarkt you'll also find the market booth of the
Ökoprodukte Feldinger organic farm which in the past used to run a fully organic supermarket in town. The booth is located next to Ändra church.
Offsite tourist tracks but on your way to Hellbrunn castle or zoo you'll find what until spring 2023 was Salzburg's only branch of the organic supermarket chain Basic.
Prior to its insolvency this organic retailer had a focus on reducing one-way packaging. While
the German Basic supermarkets were bought by the conventional tegut chain, the two Austrian branches
(the second one is located in Vienna) will continue as fully organic supermarkets of the Dennree chain.
However, I do not know whether gravity bins with dry food survived here as Denn's
has never had a focus on refill. As in most organic supermarkets fruits and veges usually are not pre-packaged, and serviced desks for bakery and dairy products allow you to take home products in your own boxes. There's also a slowly increasing range of products in returnable jars and bottles, but unfortunately these are usually more expensive than their counterparts in one-way packaging.
To refill milk around the clock head for the milk vending machine at the Erentrudishof organic farm in Morzg, a pleasant bike ride from the city. There's also a farmshop, of course with more restricted opening hours, where you also can buy eggs, spelt, wheat and rye produced by the farm.
When buying bread, rolls, cake or snacks from organic bakeries you should by now no longer meet strange looks when presenting your bag or container. But organic bakeries in town seem to be afraid of advertising themselves as "bio", so it can be difficult to spot them.
The most stylish one of them is the Salzburg branch of
Joseph Brot vom Pheinsten with its open baker's workshop a few steps away from the Mönchsberg elevator. Apart from deliciously smelling bread, rolls, cakes and snacks there's a small selection of dairy products, jams and preserves. You can also order organic (coffee) drinks and sit down on a table to have a snack or enjoy their patisserie. The bakery keeps open on Sunday mornings and public holidays.
Elisabethen-based artisanal bakery Pföß has a shop next to the Sternbräu area in the old town.
Unfortunately only the bread is promised to be organic, the white rolls tasted bland as if they were made of conventional flour. On the other hand the Krapfen doughnuts were a real delight, crisp and still a little warm, filled with fruity apricot purree instead of oversweet jam. If you come here for a snack stay away from the conventional softdrinks, and you may wish to ask whether the sandwiches are made with organic toppings.
If you want to be sure to get 100 percent organic bakery products, visit the Grünmarkt at Universitätsplatz: Three days a week you'll find the booth of Bio-Bäckerei Itzinger on its Eastern side, near the Ritzerbogen hallway. The bakery also offers vegan bread and rolls and has a focus on wholemeal products. On Thursdays you can find it at the Schranne Biomarkt.
Zero waste starts with the food, but does not end there: In order to reduce the amount of plastics ending up as microplastic in our environment and finally in ourselves it's crucial to reduce the use of the (undoubtedly useful) polymers in general: Don't throw them all away at once (as the biggest part of the carbon footprint of goods is in their production), but replace your plastic household items or clothes with plastic-free alternatives as soon as they are about to degrade.
In Salzburg there's a store to help you with that:
Damn Plastic in the Europapark mall in Taxham offers almost the entire range of plastic-free (or recycled) non-food, for inspiration
or replacement. Unfortunately their original shop in the inner city does no longer exist.
[Salzburg, Vienna, organic, vegetarian, zero_waste, unverpackt, cafe, grocery, supermarkets, bakeries, deli, market, breakfast, coffee, snacks, farms, fashion, bodycare, household]
Saturday, 02 September 2023
A hotspot for the coffee and tea trade the Hanseatic city of Bremen has a tradition for exotic beverages, and has always been a place with room for a subtler and more sophisticated approach to these beverages than the conventional mass-market. Organic and ecological projects have been blooming here for much longer than elsewhere, and so you can expect to find long established organic places blossoming alongside recent start-ups. What you will rarely find however are shiny, polished hipster cafes.
If you have to describe this neighbourhood in a sentence you'd probably point to the omnipresence of flee market-purchased furniture and objects in its lovingly and individually decorated independent shops and cafes. The beer tables on the pleasant garden terrace of Cafe Radieschen ("radish") as well as its indoor walls are all painted pink! If you come hungry first have a predominantly organic vegetarian or vegan pasta dish or sandwich before you turn to their impressive choice of home-made, predominantly organic cakes. Most drinks as well as the milk are organic, you can have an organic vegan ice-cream in the summer, and ingredients are sourced locally as far as possible. Lunch is usually offered between 12 am and 3 pm, and instead of the weekend the place is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The cafe plays host to a lot of neighbourhood activities, among them home-cooking events with young refugees from the house across the street. They always take a summer vacation.
Closer to Wilhelm Kaisen bridge and a few steps from the Kaemena ice-cream parlour you'll find a sweet art cafe dubbed Cafe Frida. They serve organic tea, soft drinks and soy milk for your coffee drink alongside home-made cakes, but neither the cakes nor the coffee, milk and oat milk are organic. You may however buy
organic fairly traded Slokoffie coffee sailed from Honduras and distributed by bicycle to have at home. Due to covid-19 restrictions you can not have breakfast here for the time being.
Whether you visit the Kunsthalle museum of art or just come by on your way into the alternative neighbourhood of the Viertel climb the stairs to the museum's self-service
Cafe Sylvette inside the art museum. It's run by the crew of the Canova restaurant behind the museum and offers home-made cakes, organic soft drinks or tea, coffee drinks with organic milk and partially organic savoury snacks at upmarket prices, but in stylish surroundings. When the weather is nice opt for the outdoor seating for the views (and corona safety).
Whether you want to spend some time reading with a delicious coffee drink aside or simply feel for a short espresso in between, the
Contigo shop in Ostertorsteinweg is definitely worth a try. The shops of this small chain of fair-trade shops resemble each other, both, when it comes to the interior design as well as in the assortments of goods (predominantly coffee, tea, chocolate, jewellery, bags and colourful accessoiries). The Bremen branch moved lately, and, on its new premises, has quite a large area with chairs and tables so that the shop (other than the ones in Dresden or Göttingen) has more of a coffeehouse atmosphere. Although you have to place your order at the till you will be served. They use sparingly roasted high quality coffee beans which result in a "greener", tangy taste even of the milk-based drinks like a flat white.
Usually it's not crowded, and hence a place to go when you feel for a less noisy spot. Surrounded by a gorgeous fair fashion and another fair-trade shop on one side, a health food store on the other and an organic cosmetics shop (almost) opposite you may however feel tempted to spend more money than initially planned.
Another cosy and serene place for an Italian-style coffee drink is just a few steps away: the
Noras reviewed in the
The city's narrowest lanes are to be found in tourist hotspot Schnoor at the other, Northern shore of the river Weser.
To enjoy the atmosphere of this oldest part of town dating back to the 15th and 16th century, follow the Wüstestätte ("waste site") alleyway until the end and have a tea in a beautiful yet narrow two-storey tea house and shop dubbed Teestübchen ("little tea parlour"). Nice weather provided you can also sit outdoor and enjoy breakfast or tea time with a home-made cake, or a high tea with a pasta, typical local dishes, or Alsatian "pizza" (Flammkuchen).
Many ingredients are organic, but you might want to be picky when choosing the tea since not all of them are.
Mind you: if you approach the Schnoor from the water front you'll approach the place from behind: The outdoor tables you see in the picture above do not belong to Teestübchen, and a surprised waiter from the adjacent restaurant won't be able to meet your requests. Simply move around the house!
Starting in the summer of 2020 the coffee bicycle of Coffee Bike has been offering Italian-style organic coffee drinks to city dwellers. Looks environment-friendly? Well, the bicycle is only make believe, and they serve their fare in one-way cups. You can easily top this – with a fairly traded organic coffee transported to Bremen without climate emissions by sailship and bicycle, in an earthenware cup, at the Biten food truck on the Domshof market.
On Mondays and Fridays you may also find the Bremer Straßencafé here.
For a filling (vegan) porridge and coffee drink on the go or on the spot the
Haferkater cafe in the passage of the main train station is an option on weekday mornings. While all pre-packaged products of the Haferkater brand and the cow milk are organic, it remains unclear whether the freshly rolled oats, and the toppings are so. The coffee is not organically certified, but fairly traded, and the oat drink unfortunately is conventional fare. They also have a decent assortment of bowls, wraps and sweets, and the shop assistant told me that some of the ingredients used here were organic, but was hesitant to specify what. You may come with your own box or cup; if not you may get a returnable bowl or cup as long as you trust (and are willing to install) the Vytal app. Insist on an earthenware cup if you intend to drink your coffee on the spot.
At the university campus
University refectories usually are no gourmet temples, but it is nevertheless a pity that the Mensa refectory on the campus stopped to offer organic side dishes. In 2023 they increased their efforts again, and now make a commitment to use only organic dairy products (they also offer organic home-made pasta at the "Pastawerk" booth Tuesday through Thursday). So you still can have an organic and fairly traded coffee drinks with locally sourced organic milk from the coffee vending machines at Cafe Central.
It's not a delight, though – the coffee tastes bitter from too high a temperature inside the machine, but it's cheap and ethical.
Tasty speciality coffee can be had from the mobile street vendor
Bremer Straßencafé on Tuesdays and hursdays around lunch. (The other working days it is supposed to be found at the Domshof in the inner city (on Mondays and Fridays), and on Saturday at the Pappelstraße in the Neustadt (supposedly at the neighbourhood market place) – if you can confirm this please let me know.)
The coffee isn't certified organic, but the cow milk used for coffee drinks is. Unfortunately the lovingly decorated coffee car (a former small scale butcher's market car which the owner refurbished and staffed with both, a barista coffee machine and a dish washer) is likely to be retired soon and replaced by a car trailer. On Thursdays the vendor may sometimes still be there after 2pm.
If you want to invest into regular supermarket prices, the new branch of the local Aleco organic supermarket chain on the campus of the economics (Wirtschaftswissenschaften) school of the university has a self-service cafe where you can get organic snacks and coffee drinks. Their coffee machine however is a fully automatic one, so do not expect serious barista fare here neither. Due to covid-19 restrictions the self-service cafe is closed for the time being, but you can get coffee and cake to take away, simply don't forget to bring your own mug and lunch box to avoid waste.
Obervieland is probably not the part of Bremen you will visit as a tourist, but if you happen to come here and are in the mood to mingle with natives step by the Gartencafé of the protestant St. Paul's parish in the former village of Habenhausen to have a coffee. There's fairly traded organic coffee, organic milk, organic soft drinks and drinking water bottled by a social business of the not-for-profit organisation Viva con Agua. The American cookies are of course home-made, and there are no fixed prices: You pay what you can, but please, be honest. The cafe is closed on Mondays and during the school holidays in summer.
Closed since the covid-19 pandemics
[Bremen, Neustadt, Schnoor, Worpswede, organic, fair, vegan, vegetarian, coffee, tea, lunch, cafe, breakfast]
Thursday, 10 August 2023
To find a self-respecting restaurant or supermarket snack bar not equipped with a restaurant-size Italian espresso machine can be difficult, and even the tiniest organic corner shop will try to offer you ubiquituous Italian-style coffee drinks. Likewise you can have organic tea bag teas and infusions of usually decent quality. But for the modern nomad on the job, the afternoon chat with friends or the traveller in search of a undisturbed place for a break or observations, the dedicated coffee or tea house is a far more appropriate place to spent hours.
Common for all the places listed here that they are closed in the evening – usually around 6pm, some keep open until 8pm. Note that weekend opening hours may be even more restricted.
Viennese-style coffee houses
The headline is misleading – even if an increasing number of cafes see themselves in the tradition of Viennese coffee houses when it comes to the stuccoed interior, the dark wooden furniture, a selection of daily newspapers as well as the menu, they will usually serve Italian-style coffee drinks. The perfect place for breakfast and a coffee break at any time of the day, you will also be served lunch and snacks throughout the day. Expect however to order more of the deliciously handcrafted cakes than you initially intended to.
To my knowledge the only one left by the end of 2020 and my absolute favourite is the newly restored Cafe Reichshof in Haidhausen, covered in detail in my ice-cream post.
Since Iunu stopped serving Turkish mocca the only place offering responsibly sourced oriental-style coffee in Haidhausen is Saladins Souk with its rather irrational opening hours. If it is closed you may move next door to Erbils vegan Turkish eatery.
In autumn 2021 I noticed to my delight that these aren't the only mocca places anymore: The Icedate ice-cream parlour in Maxvorstadt started serving organic coffee, although the price tag of 2.40 EUR the mocca is rather stiff.
Italian style bars
Pop in, have a coffee, a chat, a sweet, and pop out again – the Italian bar is the hotspot of a neighbourhood. To my deepest regret its Bavarian incarnation is no more (landlord cancelled contract with the coffee roastery), but
in the middle of humming Viktualienmarkt market North of the crossing Reichenbachstraße/Frauenstraße there's Kaffeerösterei Viktualienmarkt, a vibrant market booth with bar tables under a roof. So even if the weather is bad and you're outside there's no reason to give up plans for an Italian style coffee drink made with sustainably sourced (though not organically certified), locally roasted coffee. The milk is organic and comes from traditionally working mountain farms in the Berchtesgadener Land district, packaged by the co-operatively driven Berchtesgadener Land dairy which, in 2017, banned the use of glyphosate for all its farmers, not only the organic ones.
If you prefer your coffee with biodynamic (Demeter) milk head for the Sorry Johnny coffee bar in Haidhausen, conveniently located at the Wörthstraße tram stop. The place has quite unusual opening hours: closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and open during the early evening
on Fridays and Saturdays. The bar replaced a vegan clean-eating spot in autumn 2021 which, for a while, prepared my favourite oat-based latte – a coffee preparation that's still available here.
Without the heavy car traffic the area between Max-Weber-
and Wiener Platz could be a lovely urban hideaway, with singing tram tracks, an underground station (exhibiting Munich's first horse tram), pleasant shops, cafes and nearby parks. To escape from the agressive passive motorised mobility along Innere Wiener Straße jump into quiet Steinstraße and take a breath at the tiny
Coffee Box cafe. Although some of their coffee is roasted by
Merchant & Friends in Glonn, none of the
beans served here are organic. The milk, however, is organic, as is the ginger and pomegranate juices used in some drinks. For a refreshment in the summer heat have an
organic, vegan popsicle.
(Almost) fully organic
If all you want is a place where you do not have to fine-read the menu to pick out the organic items your options are limited to the afore mentioned Café Reichshof, near tram stop "Wörthstraße") – and to Café Josefina in the legendary neighbourhood of Schwabing with its bohemian past, a few steps from tube stop Josephsplatz.
A cosy day cafe serving Italian-style coffee drinks made with real milk or a number of plant-based alternatives it's not only worth a coffee but also a lunch break. Although nearly all ingredients are organic there are a few exceptions when it comes to the cold cuts used in Italian-style sandwiches. As early as half past seven the place starts serving both, vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore breakfast on weekdays, and since it is quite small it's advisable to reserve a table if you plan to step by on a weekend.
For a fully organic breakfast or coffee near Münchner Freiheit head for the small artisanal (and fully organic) Brotraum bakery happily catering for early birds. The breakfast menu is simple – but you can order additional items like eggs and cream cheese on top or ask for a freshly prepared sandwich or roll of your choice. Don't forget to bring your own bags and containers when you come here to buy bread, rolls or lunch items for take away – the owner is inclined to support your zero waste efforts.
In Neuhausen, about half a kilometre from Rotkreuzplatz a gorgeous health-food eatery cum cafe gROOSartig (a play on the word "gorgeous" and the name of the owner) opened in 2020, offering breakfast, lunch, and coffee breaks based on regional, usually organic, often fairly-traded ingredients. Although the menu is planned with a focus on healthy food the demand for sweets and cakes has resulted in an increasing range on cakes and tarts.
The place also has a small shop offering plastic-free artisanal household items.
For a filling slice of raw vegan tarte head for the Eastern neighbourhood of Haidhausen: At Max-Weber-Platz you'll find
Épique Raw, a fully organic Munich patisserie. A very serious Italian-style coffee aside (the beans are collected in the wild) watch trams, cyclists and pedestrians (well, and cars, unfortunately) passing by. They also offer banana bread and croissants.
The cafe is part of a predominantly organic eatery Greens & Grains:
Both counters are self-serviced and don't allow anonymous payments, only cards.
Shabby chic and homely places
A small cafe of old, run as a social enterprise just a five minutes walk away from Rosenheimer Platz, Cafe Plaisir moved to a bigger and lighter venue in 2018 – and stopped using organic ingredients for their home-made ice-cream, chocolates, cakes and cookies. Still, tea and coffee drinks and a few more items are marked on the menu with a little heart denoting organic, and eggs – where marked – come from organic farms raising both, the hens and their cockerel brothers. Be patient and kind if the serving personnel does not respond immediately – the shop is a social enterprise run by longterm-unemployed persons.
Not far from Ostbahnhof station Kosy*s cafe promises to be "your second living room". As long as you have some tolerance towards cake stands filled with kitschy sweets guaranteed free from natural colourings and a decidedly vintage feel you can have an organic tea or soft drink, a coffee drink made with organic milk, organic eggs and cereals for breakfast or a hearty lunch often entirely made from organic ingredients in a leisurely atmosphere. The good thing is that organic ingredients aren't shamefully hidden – when it's organic they'll make it transparent on the menu. The bad news: their homemade cakes unfortunately are not organic, not even the eggs.
A few steps away, directly located at Orleansplatz cafe Iunu is a perfect place to meet a friend for a chat or to have a recreational coffee break including a chat with the friendly owner. Some of the coffee, the milk, the tea and a few staples used in the daily changing vegetarian and ayurvedic-inspired lunch set menu like agave syrup, rice and vegetable yogurt alternatives are organic, but unfortunately usually not the veges. The place was my joker for the best Turkish mocca in town, but unfortunately it is no longer being served due to marginal demand. With a small but carefully chosen (though not necessarily organic) range of delicatessen Iunu will also save you when in need for an unplanned last minute gift. On Saturdays the cafe is often unexpectedly closed due to arrangements, so check in advance.
Another cosy living room dubbed Zimtzicke is tucked away in comparatively quiet Elsässer Straße, only a five minutes walk from Ostbahnhof. All their teas, coffees, the milk and eggs are organic. Their lunch dishes, although mainly not organic, are tasty. However, when I enquired about the ingredients of the individual dishes on the menu, the staff wasn't able to tell whether they contained organic ingredients. The tiny place smells lovely of home-make cakes, some of them vegan. A perfect location to warm up after a winter walk in the city, and a pleasant retreat to welcome spring or to enjoy a summer day in the city on a table in front of it.
Another option to mingle with natives is a homely shabby chic neighbourhood cafe cum gallery in the neighbourhood of Au, on the Eastern shore of river Isar near Deutsches Theater. The audience of Café Käthe is mixed, coffee, milk, tea, rolls and cakes as well as most of the softdrinks are organic. They don't serve hot food, but you can have breakfast, sandwiches, cereals, salads and - of course – cake all day. Many but not all ingredients are organic, so ask if you care but be prepared that the service personnel isn't prepared to answer on the spot.
A crowded neighbourhood coffee bar in Obergiesing, Shotgun Sister allows you to meet people from the former working class borough which has been popular among both, students and families alike. All food including the cakes are home-made, with organic fruit and veges, often from local biodynamic agriculture. The cakes are fully organic. If you cannot spot the place at once watch out for the branch of the organic Hofpfisterei bakery chain which is located next to it, a five minutes walk from Giesing station. If you like splash out a coffee on an unknown – as the sister participates in the Hey campaign for fellow human beings in need. Needless to say that vegan and gluten-free options are readily available.
Big enough to almost guarantee a free seat for the visitor-by-chance is Cafe Katzentempel in the Maxvorstadt university quarter. You must however not suffer from a cat allergy as this rather special vegan place is inhabitated by six cats, and the once nice wallpaper on the wall with the scratch pole facing the entrance has already become rather shabby. Most of the softdrinks are organic as are all soy products and the cow milk (on request used for non-vegan coffee and tea-based drinks). The place offers an impressive range of organic nuts and grain milks to be ordered for your latte. The food and home-made cakes may include additional organic ingredients, although they aren't generally organic, just of local origin if possible. Students and apprentices are entitled special prices Tuesday through Friday, and free wifi is available. Depending on your table you may find the slightly aggressive sales presentation of the Katzentempel brand t-shirts disturbing – overall a place to either love or detest.
Another, for my likings cosier place to have a vegan latte is Siggis which I reviewed here.
Self-service coffee house and deli bars
For the no-frills coffee with WLAN or on the go a number of nation-wide operating self-service coffee house chains serve Italian and American-style organic coffee often with organic milk and some more organic items like tea, soft drinks or fruit and nut bars. The market in Munich is quite volatile: The once dominating franchise San Francisco Coffee Company filed for bankruptcy during the covid-19 pandemics and does no longer have stores in Munich. Black Bean never expanded and survived, and Coffee Fellows is now ubiquitous, serving coffee at (among others) fuel and train stations.
Once booming MyMuesli chain, a German web order shop for organic cereals and porridges with offline branches throughout the German-speaking countries also had to close a lot of its shops after
a rapid, unhealthy expansion strategy.
On the Eastern edge of Viktualienmarkt, a few steps from Marienplatz you'll still find their flagship store which includes a decent coffee bar. No cakes to be had here but Italian style coffee drinks, juices, and of course mueslis, porridges and cereals in case you are a little hungry or in need for an organic breakfast. The major aim of the shop is of course to sell their products but for a quick WLAN or coffee break in the busy heart of the city the functionally styled place isn't a bad option.
My favourite in this category is a small organically certified Munich-based chain: Deli Star brings the spirit of New York-style deli and coffee bars to town, but with a strong focus on the environment: No plastics here, all take away stews and salads come in returnable glass jars, and the coffee on the go in a Recup deposit cup if you don't bring your own. Not every ingredient in their bagels, sandwiches, stews and salads is organic, but all regular organic items are clearly marked BIO on the menu: the cakes (though not the muffins and brownies), most meat products, yogurt, Lemonaid and Adelholzener fruit and soft drinks. Other ingredients like veges and cheese may or may not be organic. The coffee isn't organic, but the milk comes in huge reusable containers from a local organic farm. In general they use a lot of products grown and produced in the region and/or from small-scale manufacturers. Both branches are located in students' hotspots in Maxvorstadt: near the University and at the entrance to the Englischer Garten park.
Mingle with the working crowd
Campus canteens and coffee bars frequented by those working nearby are excellent places to get in contact with locals – with the disadvantage of opening hours following office hours.
On the eastern side of the railway tracks of Ostbahnhof train station, a few minutes north of the newly developed Werksviertel you'll find day cafe Louka, a friendly no-frills place mainly catering for the office workers and craftspersons working nearby. What you get here:
coffee, home-made cakes and sandwiches, a
daily changing soup and main course, often vegetarian.
If you want to taste simple German everyday standards like Kässpätzle and Schupfnudeln, or the Russischer Zupfkuchen ("Russian pluck cake") cheesecake, this is the place. Not everything is organic here, but both, the coffee, the milk and the plant-based drinks, the eggs, often the veges and the meat are.
Steinhausen is most certainly not a neighbourhood you will have on your travel agenda, but if you come to the Berg am Laim urban train, bus and tram stop the coffee bar on the ground flour of the Süddeutsche Zeitung publishing house is nearby and open to the public. It offers organic and fairly traded coffee and organic lemonades at very competitive prices. Milk, soy and oat drinks are occassionally organic, but better check for the "bio" keyword on the packs as conventional industrial milk still prevails. The sweet and savoury snacks are of unknown provenance so you may prefer to ask. Salads and desserts are being sold in retour jars at a deposit.
If you wish to mingle with journalists, developers, printers and all those involved in the production of Germany’s most respected daily newspaper this is the place despite the surroundings.
If you happen to strand in the urban desert of office blocks between the tube stops of Karl-Preis-Platz and Sankt-Martin-Straße head for the Neue Balan campus, a former industrial area where in the past Siemens produced semiconductors. Quite centrally you'll find Balan Deli, a modern yet comfortably furnished day cafe run as a not-for-profit company providing fair employment for an inclusive team of people with and without handicaps. The cafe was founded by the nearby inclusive Montessori school and designed by a Hamburg based artist. You can have a healthy lunch, partially based on organic ingredients, or simply an organic coffee, tea, wine or soft drink, often sourced from local producers, in a pleasant environment. The bread for the sandwiches comes from a local organic bakery. Unfortunately the service staff is not very knowledgeable (yet) about organic and sustainably produced food (when I enquired about the milk they told me it was organic although they actually use the cheaper conventional product of the Berchtesgadener Land dairy which also offers an extended range of organic dairy products), but was happy to ask the kitchen staff about the origin of the chicken in the Thai curry (which was not organic).
For those seriously into tea the ultimate target in town is Tushita Teehaus in the Glockenbach neighbourhood, near the Western exit of tube station Fraunhofer Straße (and a five minutes walk South of Gärtnerplatz). To taste their around 150 organic and often fairly traded tea and tisane varieties (which aren't exhaustively listed on the menu) can take some time, but you can buy them to take with you. With every order the staff will hold a microscopic tea ceremony for you, and hot water for a second extraction is served in a small thermos aside. In the past they often used too hot water for some of their delicate green teas resulting in a bitter beverage, but this fortunately had changed to the better at my last visit. In addition they serve small vegan dishes as well as yummy home-made cakes, all organic, and there's a Japanese touch to both, the decoration, the food and the subtle focus on Japanese tea and matcha. Consequently the place is frequented by visitors of Japanese origin as well as the occasional Indian gentleman or the German hippie or university professor reading their daily. Given how frequented the place often is there's a quiet, pleasantly concentrated atmosphere to it.
More to try
Still on my research list is Mr. Ben in Maxvorstadt – this coffee place in the university quarter serves beans artisanally roasted in the neighbourhood of Giesing, but since I haven't been here myself yet I cannot say whether they use organically certified ones (which they should given the 1.80 EUR for a cup of espresso) nor whether the milk and oat milk are organic.
There's a small selection of Italian-style sandwiches and cakes of which my research so far can confirm that the croissants come from an organic bakery a longer bicycle ride out of town.
In the Westend, a few steps from Theresienwiese (and the Emilo cafe)
Café Gollier is a pleasant neighbourhood day cafe, popular for breakfast and hearty lunch. They promise to use regional, preferably organic products according to availability, but so far I have not had the chance to eat here.
The following places ceased to exist, although you still may find references to them on the web:
- Contains Coffee, Celibidacheforum
- Echt jetzt, Barer Str. 48 (web shop remaining)
- Emilo im Glockenbach, Buttermelcherstr. 5
- Emilo Westend, Gollierstr. 14
- Emilo am Odeonsplatz, Odeonspl. 14
- Emmi's Kitchen, Rosenheimer Str. 67 (vegetarian cafe cum eatery)
Fritz Brotbar, Nymphenburger Str. 154 (bakery cum cafe)
Fritz Mühlenbäckerei, Müllerstr. 46 (cafe cum eatery, re-opened in 2020 as bread bar w/ show bakery)
- Himmelherrgott, Waldfriedhofstr. 105 (cafe)
- Die Kaffee-Küche, Weißenburger Str. 6 (cafe)
- Kafehaus Karameel, Nymphenburger Str. 191 (Viennese-style coffee house)
- Lolas Eckcafé, Metzstr. 37
- Kaffee Sonnenschein, Gietlstr. 17
San Francisco Coffee Company, Nymphenburger Str. 151 (cafe)
- San Francisco Coffee Company, Innere Wiener Str. 57
- San Francisco Coffee Company Ostbahnhof, Orleanspl. 5a
- San Francisco Coffee Company Riem-Arcaden, Willy-Brandt-Pl. (cafe)
- San Francisco Coffee Company Maxvorstadt, Türkenstr. 47 (cafe)
- San Francisco Coffee Company Odeonsplatz, Theatinerstr. 23 (cafe)
- Black Bean, Amalienstr. 44 (cafe)
- MyMuesli München-Pasing w/in Pasing Arcaden, Josef-Felder-Str. 53 (muesli shop)
- MyMuesli München OEZ w/in Olympia-Einkaufszenrum, Hanauer Str. 68 (muesli shop)
[Munich, Au, Haidhausen, Maxvorstadt, Schwabing, Westend, Englischer_Garten, organic, coffee, tea, breakfast, lunch, snacks, fair, vegan, gluten_free, cafe, ice-cream, restaurant, American, Italian, Japanese]
Thursday, 20 July 2023
Bavarian opening hour regulations are far from liberal, hence your shopping options on Sundays and after 8 pm are limited to, uhmmm, petrol stations, more or less. Not the kind of place you'll expect to find organic food, toiletries or other necessities in eco-conscious quality.
But the times, they are changing, and for the organic Munich traveller or inhabitant, there's no reason to despair anymore. Your best bet are railway stations, namely Hauptbahnhof (main station) and Ostbahnhof.
At the Hauptbahnhof enter the basement from Elisenhof in Western direction, following the S-Bahn signs (if you come from the trains head straight ahead to the Eastern exit to enter the basement). Opposite the entry to S-Bahn (urban trains) you'll find Biokultur, a full-fledged organic supermarket. It's your only choice for fresh organic fruit and veges on Sundays and offers everything you'll expect from a full retailer (including wine, household cleaning items, toiletries, ...) as well as a pleasant shopping atmosphere. Before the covid-19 pandemics, this organic supermarket kept open after 8 pm, but shortage of staff applies here as well, so in 2023 the shop still keeps open on Sundays, but without extended opening hours.
There's a second branch in the neighbourhood of Riem, without a permit to keep open on Sundays.
Next to the Biokultur at Hauptbahnhof you'll find a branch of the local organic Hofpfisterei bakery chain, the only one open on Sundays. As all of their branches it also stocks a small range of organic drinks, dry and dairy products as well as organic cold cuts. On weekdays they offer a selection of yummy organic sandwiches to take with you,
both, vegetarian and omnivore, most of them with gorgeous German sourdough bread – perfect provisions for train travellers. On weekends only buttered prezls ("Butterbrezn") are available for take out.
Unfortunately the Hofpfisterei branch at Ostbahnhof train station does no longer keep open on Sunday mornings, but a five minutes brisk walk from the station you'll find one of those family-owned bakeries that are becoming so rare these days. Leave the station at Orleansplatz exit, cross the square and follow the tram tracks along Wörthstraße. At the end of Bordeauxplatz square, corner Metzstraße, you'll find Cafe Reichshof run by the Neulinger family, a lovely coffeehouse cum pastry shop. Treat yourself with their delicious organic cakes, icecream or a savory organic snack like the traditional Bavarian Weißwurst (sausage) breakfast. If you don't feel intrigued to stay shop from a huge range of organic bread, rolls, and cakes. You can also buy a small selection of prepackaged cheese and meat cuts, butter, milk and jams from the fridge opposite the coffee machine.
Starting in 2022, the other Neulinger branches in Neuhausen, the meat-packing district of Ludwigsvorstadt and the wholesale market area in Sendling have been keeping open on Sundays and public holidays, too, though some only for breakfast.
Everything you need for a sumptious breakfast or cold snack (except fresh fruit and veges) can be bought from Fritz Mühlenbäckerei near Rosenheimer Platz. Between 1987 and 2010 this cosy artisanal baker's shop was the headquarter of one of Munich's eldest organic bakeries. Now the scent of warm bread fresh from the oven is gone – all the production takes place in modern facilities in the outskirts of Aying. The shop however is still here and open on Sunday mornings, including a small grocery section equipped with a large fridge.
About ten years after the Fritz bakery moved their bakery from the Haidhausen backyard to Aying the bakers came back to town with a bread bakery in Glockenbachviertel. The former cafe re-opened in June 2020 – buy your daily artisanal bread and watch the bakers at work.
If you happen to be in Grünwald on a Sunday morning (or another day of the week during working hours) make sure to buy the best German sourdough bread in the entire Munich area from Lokalbäckerei Brotzeit. Their bread workshop is located on the premises of the Alter Wirt hotel, with a separate entrance and a small lunch cum cafe counter where you can choose a roll and from a range of all organic spreads, coldmeat, cheeses and more to get your customised sandwich.
Back at Ostbahnhof trainstation, directly at the southern exit of the U-Bahn station into the Ostbahnhof building you'll find the place that will save your life after 8pm: This branch of the DM-Drogeriemarkt chain does not only stock the usual excellent range of natural bodycare, organic dry products, vegan alternatives and eco-friendly household helpers, but boosts a capable selection of dairy products, eggs and even a freezer stocked with organic pizza, berries, icecream, ... Unfortunately – and unlike other DM branches – organic choices and certified natural cosmetics aren't clearly marked on the shelves, so watch out for organic and natural cosmetics labels, and brands.
A few steps from the urban train stop Johanneskirchen, directly located at the bus stop "Johanneskirchen Bhf" there's an 24x7 open vending machine selling Bavarian produce: Not everything from the so-called Regiomat is organic, but you can buy organic eggs, UHT milk, cheese, chocolate pudding, cream and ready-made tomato sauce.
By the summer 2020 the concept of vending machines for products of smaller local farms finally had made it into Munich town, too: The Erntebox vending machines offer eggs and chicken meat, sausages, cheese, pasta and fruit jam, not everything organic, but most likely from farmers around Munich with a focus on sustainability. There's one at the Grünspitz in Giesing, a hotspot for urban agricultural and greening projects, and another at busy Berg-am-Laim-Straße in the Eastern neighbourhood of Baumkirchen. To find the latter isn't easy: Follow the shop windows of the (conventional) Aumüller bakery in in city (Western) direction and stop when the house turns at an angle. Unfortunately the number of certified organic products has been decreasing here: When I re-checked in summer 2023, the organic sausages were gone, but there's again a good selection of organic cheeses.
[Munich, Gruenwald, Johanneskirchen, Haidhausen, Sendling, organic, coffee, gifts, snacks, lunch, breakfast, bakeries, grocery, supermarkets, trainstation, Regiomat, covid, corona]