Goldenes Kaffeezeug (Golden Coffee Set)

Coffee The elixir of happiness

Advertisement S ome of Dresden’s coffee pioneers started out in life as artists or scientists. Because good coffee needs both the right ambience to be enjoyed and people who pay attention to detail. By Maren Soehring

Researching the perfect coffee taste

Vineeth Surendranath is such a person. Born in India, he came to Dresden in 2004 to conduct research at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) into the field of evolution and developmental biology. On his obligatory trips abroad, he discovered his passion for exceptionally good coffee.

An obsession which he was unable to fulfil, because the type of speciality café that could, for example, be found in Prague was absent from Dresden, even from the hipster district of Neustadt. Until a friend, just returned from New York, told him about the Phoenix Coffee Roasters who operate more than just a café and where only an extremely high-quality raw product goes into their Giesen W15 drum roaster.

Since then, Surendranath has been spending more time researching the perfect coffee taste than developmental biology – as managing director at Oswaldz. Before the opening of the café, he spent his leisure time over a two-year period receiving a thorough grounding from Phoenix in all the finer points of the black art. Surendranath’s baristas also have to undergo a six-month course on how to use fine scales to measure out the right amount of ground beans, how to set the correct pressure to force the water through the filter holder and much more besides. On account of its aroma, an old favourite has now returned as the prime method of preparation: the filter. For connoisseurs, however, sugar and milk remain taboo.

Must have! When the King of Saxony saw the Goldenes Kaffeezeug (Golden Coffee Set) crafted by Johann Melchior Dinglinger in 1701 (photograph above), he immediately wanted to own it. The dainty white-enamelled cups resembled Chinese porcelain, which would not be produced at his own court until several years later. The 45-piece set is studded with more than 5,600 precious stones, so it is unlikely that Augustus the Strong ever actually used it for serving coffee. Today, it sparkles in the Green Vault.

Oswaldz has been a success from the outset. The clientele consists of the international community, of men in suits working on their laptops, of students discussing the next project and of coffee connoisseurs from around the world. New blends are served several times a year, whenever the Phoenix Roasters a few hundred metres along Bautzner Strasse take delivery of a new consignment. Hauke Meyer, who roasts the raw beans there once per week, explains: “You have to feel your way into a new coffee, to learn over time how to taste the different flavours. There are, for example, fruit notes such as gooseberry or plums which an inexperienced drinker initially finds strange.” Meyer’s craft requires a lot of experience and judgement. Most of the big coffee companies roast for about four minutes at 600 degrees. At Phoenix, the process takes a minimum of ten minutes at far lower temperatures. Every minute longer or shorter affects the flavour. All information about the new blends, including harvest date and place, intensity of roasting, production and labour costs can be found online. “We are hoping to educate our regular customers about the many subtleties,” says Surendranath. The statistics bear him out. Requests for milky coffee are rare at Oswaldz. The addition of syrups is definitely a no-no.

Ines Richter is also fascinated by the taste of coffee and by the culture that surrounds it. She and her partner began operating Saxony’s largest drum roaster in 2015 at Kaffanero where the seat cushions are sewn from coffee sacks. Her husband, Ralf Salomo, learned the trade over many long years. Their son now also mans the machine in which grey Arabica and Robusta beans are transformed – nice and slow – into the perfect blend for filter coffee, Americano or espresso. Even though Ines Richter herself is less of a purist, preferring her cappuccino.

Espresso set in the Cosmopolitan series.

Gold & Black

For over 300 years, Meissen has been manufacturing porcelain. The Golden Coffee Set was the model for the espresso set in the Cosmopolitan series.
meissen.com

Cup by Art & Form (Susanne Petzold)

Art & Form

Susanne Petzold from Dresden shapes porcelain into objets d’art.
susannepetzold.de

Pottery events

Open Day at the pottery workshops in Dresden and Saxony
tag-der-offenen-toepferei.de
11th + 12th March 2017

Dresden Ceramics Market (next to the Goldener Reiter statue)
toepfermarkt-dresden.de
2nd + 3rd September 2017