Coffee is an important part of a German day. If you’ve been around here before then you’ll already know about the 4 o’clock Kaffee-Kuchen, the all-important German cafe tradition. Despite being a smaller German city, Marburg has a lot of cafes to choose from. During the last year here, it’s been my mission to try out as many of them as possible, allowing me to slowly compile a list of my favorites. Below are eight cafes in Marburg that I think have something to offer everyone, from the occasional pick-me-up coffee drinker to the coffee-aficionado.
This century-old cafe, with its cozy dining room and terrace that overlooks the city, is our first stop to impress visiting friends. For four generations, Cafe Vetter has occupied this spot on the sloping cobblestone streets of the Oberstadt, and just like its location, it feels like nothing has changed inside this old cafe. Stepping into Cafe Vetter, the warm, dark colors, matching china sets, and wicker-backed chairs remind you of being at Oma’s houses. Despite serving breakfast and light-food options, Cafe Vetter is most popular for the very German four o’clock Kaffee-Kuchen. It’s no surprise with their impressive offering of creamy, fruity, and “chocolatey” cakes baked fresh daily; there’s something to satisfy everyone.
• Reitgasse 4, 35037 Marburg, 06421-25888, http://www.cafe-vetter-marburg.de, Open Mon-Sun 9am – 6pm
Konditorei Café Klingelhöfer
Hidden away on Südviertel’s quieter, more residential streets is Klingelhöfer, the other of Marburg’s very German cafes. Like Cafe Vetter, it’s been family-run for more than 100 years, serving homemade cakes baked from classic German recipes. But the differences amount to more than just the modern look and feel of Klingelhöfer. It has a lot of things going for it that give it an edge (at least in my mind): its unbelievably expansive dessert selection, its offering of a seasonal lunch menu that’s changed weekly, and its homemade ice cream.
• Haspelstraße 21, 35037 Marburg, 06421-23372, www.konditorei-klingelhoefer.de, Open Tues-Sun 8am – 6pm. Wettergasse 38, 35037 Marburg, 06421-64206, Open Tues-Sat 9.45am – 6.30pm, Sun 1pm – 6pm
The coffeeshop-culture so common in the US has been slow to take root in Marburg. C&T is one of the exceptions. This American-style cafe, with its chai lattes, donuts and selection of bagels, has become wildly popular with Marburg’s younger, “hipper” crowd. Located on a Südviertel sidestreet surrounded by student apartments, the store’s inside feels minimal, not the coziest coffeeshop, with just a handful of high-top tables and stools, shelves full of coffee mugs for sale, and a back wall covered in tins of its coffee and tea varieties from around the world. But what C&T lacks in ambiance, it more than makes up for with its good, roasted-fresh-daily coffee, priced below 2€ for a cup, which is also available to-go.
• Gutenbergstraße 11A, 35037 Marburg, 06421-167945, www.mein-eigener-kaffee.de, Mon-Fri 10am-6pm
Located a stone’s throw away from the busy center of the Oberstadt is Bohne, the city’s comfy neighborhood cafe whose warm colors, commanding coffee bar, and chalkboard menu are reminiscent of Central Perk. All that’s missing is a goofy Gunther! At Bohne, their sole focus is good coffee. It’s this devotion -the more than twenty varieties available, daily on-site roastings, and a coffee truck that travels to the local farmer’s market- that has gained Bohne a group of loyal regulars. And even though it’s true that any place that serves me good coffee in a cup the size of a soup bowl has my heart, it’s the cool, chill vibe of this place that keeps me coming back. Inside it’s very laid-back. On any given day you’re likely to see the tables full, baristas chatting with customers, and people reading newspapers outside.
• Steinweg 19, 35037 Marburg, 06421-690655, http://www.kaffee-bohne.de, Open Mon-Fri 10am-6.30pm, Sat 10am-4pm
At the first sign of warmer weather, this cafe along the Lahn is in high demand with the student crowd. At first glance it doesn’t look like much, a converted boat shed turned coffee bar and a scatter of picnic tables, but don’t let Ufercafe Gischler fool you. This one-of-a-kind Marburg cafe is the place to be on a warm, sunny day. With a menu that includes beer and ice cream as well as coffee and hot waffles, Ufercafe’s got your afternoon in the sun covered. After eating, for 10€ you can rent a paddleboat for an hour and ride out on the Lahn.
• Auf dem Wehr 1A, 35037 Marburg, 06421-8048467, http://www.ufercafe-gischler.de, Open Sun-Mon 9am-11pm
Tucked into the side of the Oberstadt, halfway up a narrow flight of stairs that aren’t used so often is the pocket-sized cafe/restaurant, Die Pause. Inside you step into a bright, stone sunroom. In the window is a stone bar covered in newspapers, perfect for an afternoon coffee and across the room is a small stone staircase that leads up to the main dining room. Though on a nice day it’s usually full in the afternoon, you can usually find space for a coffee and cake, but if you’re interested in coming for dinner it’s best to call ahead and make a reservation.
• Wettergasse 16, 35037 Marburg, 06421 1831804, www.die-pause-marburg.de, Open Mon-Thurs 9am-10pm, Fri-Sat 9am-11pm
Walking through the Oberstadt’s main square you’ll soon find yourself bumping into tables and chairs on the cafe-lined street of Barfüßstraße. The one that catches your eye first, the one with the hand-carved, mint-green facade like something you’d find on an old theater, is Cappuccino. And though it does serve a mean cappuccino, it’s more bistro than cafe, serving a menu of spirits, salads, sandwiches, and specials along with its coffee. The atmosphere here is just as good as the food. Everything about Cappuccino is relaxing: from the jazz music floating around the mustard-yellow interior, students clicking away at their computers, and the sounds from the coffee makers and the friendly staff. But if a quiet, relaxing cafe isn’t what you’re searching for, Cappuccino is open later, even offering a Prosecco and house wine happy hour from 7pm-8pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.
• Barfüßerstraße 46, 35037 Marburg, 06421-210283, http://www.facebook.com/cappuccinomr
Vila Vita Café Rosenpark
This isn’t really a recommendation since I haven’t actually been to Cafe Rosenpark, but I wanted to add it the list because it was one of the places recommended to me by a native Marburger. And just look how cute it is! This place is known for its buffet-style brunch and breakfasts (notably the Elisabethfrühstück).
• Anneliese Pohl Allee 7-17, 35037 Marburg, 06421 60050, http://www.rosenpark.com/en/dining/cafe-rosenpark.html, Tues-Sun 9am-6pm