Bonanza Coffee Heroes caught my eye the first time I walked past it. It has a distinctive white neon sign, a distressed “we will be ready to open any day now” interior and of course the eye-catching sign outside that proclaims “Don’t die Before Trying” – no exclamation point. They are very serious about coffee here, no chocolate milk, no decaf. They do coffee, a strong, dark coffee with delicate acanthus-like designs in the foam.
I have since come across loads of write ups for this place. It uses a synesso cyncra which invokes a “Wow!” reaction in coffee geeks world-wide. Apparently there are only 3 of these machines in Europe, according to Berlin Unlike. Bloggers positively rave about it, like Cafe Kultur Berlin or the reviews on Bean Hunter.
And YES, they do make some wonderful coffee and in the words of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure – “We are not worthy…” of the über slick machine.
But you know what? The service can be abysmal! I just don’t understand why often in Berlin if you are a cool, coveted, trendy ” ” fill in the blank shop, the perception is that you have carte blanche to behave like an idiot?
Take Heroes today for example. 11:30 am, people streaming in to the shop from Mauer Park market forming a orderly cue for coffee and the Heroes have NO change. Zero! The guy in front of me is trying to buy a coffee with a small bill and is getting some serious grief for not having exactly €2.50! I watch him wait for 10 minutes and finally, annoyed that he is being totally ignored, he snatches back his bill and storms out. At which point one of the Heroes (manger / owner?) called the furious customer an “A**hole” to his staff in full view of the customers!
This is not OK!
It’s wonderful to have a place in Berlin that understands about good coffee, gorgeous foam and so on but they are not handing those coffees out for free! People are paying for them! And yes you should have change in anticipation of a busy Sunday! When I worked at a deli in Primrose Hill (London), Sundays were packed with customers paying with bills rather than exact change! Expecting this, our managers would send us to the bank on Fridays and we would come back lugging our own body weight in change! And if for whatever reason we ran out of change – which probably happened once in the 3 years I worked there, we borrowed some from one of the adjacent shops.
Other times I have been to Bonanza Coffee Heroes and the service has been fine, not friendly exactly but at least I wasn’t sneered at. Well except for a while back now, when I was still breast-feeding little L. I asked if they did a decaf coffee and the barista could hardly contain his disdain for such a seemingly heinous request. That’s just pants! Monmouth is probably one of the places that started this whole Bonanza coffee movement in Europe and they do a decaf!
Bonanza Coffee Heroes are certainly not the only example of this kind of bad behaviour. I would say that 5 times out of 10, I encounter this kind of attitude. The point is, buying a coffee should not be such an ordeal. It should be a pleasant and enjoyable experience! I sincerely hope that these shops grow out of this scowling teenager faze a lot of them seem to be stuck in and reach their full mature potential!
Oh and I really wish I had the presence of mind to buy that guy his coffee.
Bonanza Coffee Heroes
Oderberger Strasse 35