Kuchen Value

by Tyler Luiten on July 5, 2010 · 4 comments

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Kaffee und Kuchen - Cafe Breuer - Bonn, Germany
I’ll admit it: I enjoy the sweeter things in life. If given the choice between savory or sweet, I’m almost always going to reach for the sweets, though at times I do want to have my cake and eat it too. Fortunately, this predilection has brought me to a most wonderful tradition, known in Germany as kaffee und kuchen (“coffee and cake”).

Kaffee und kuchen is also referred to as a zwischenmahlzeit, or a meal between meals (similar to the British tradition of Teatime), and is really an excuse to get together in the afternoon. The “official” kaffee und kuchen time is 4:00 p.m., when Germans might pause to enjoy some treats, gossip, catch up or spend a leisurely afternoon moment with friends, family or guests.

I may be stretching it a bit when I call kaffee und kuchen a tradition, as it seems to be a dying one in Germany’s modern times. It’s hard these days to find people willing or able to make time for this old form of entertainment, and if so, then it’s most likely on a Sunday afternoon, when everything is essentially closed. That said, everyone is still aware that this pastime once existed, and every so often I find the younger folk sharing a kaffee und kuchen afternoon with their friends, simply on account of its kitsch value.

Kaffee und Kuchen - Cafe Breuer - Bonn, Germany
What makes this tradition so beautiful and so accessible is Germany’s endless line of bakeries and cafes. Most of them are bound to have some type of kuchen, and given such a wide variance of quality and type, those browsing the full selection of cakes, tarts and pies must know exactly where to go for the right dessert. Those who just want to enjoy something sweet with a nice cup of coffee can pop into almost any café or bakery and be on their way to a great afternoon.

Schloss-Cafe Poppelsdorf - Kaffee und Kuchen - Bonn, Germany
If you are averse to heavy cream, butter, fat and loads of sugar, then sadly this isn’t a tradition for you. German cakes are no joke when it comes to making sure every possibly unhealthy ingredient is used, and that’s why I’m in love with them. Many cakes you’ll find filled with pure butter cream. Others are topped with all sorts of fresh fruits. Yet others are crowned with a half-foot mountain of pure chocolate with sugary frosting, and of course there are cakes baked with alcohol, like schnapps or rum. I wouldn’t necessarily promote consuming every one of these as a daily tradition, but as a lover of sweets I find it necessary to sometimes let go of my health-conscious views and indulge. I also find it necessary to ask for a healthy dose of schlagsahne (fresh whipping cream) to accompany my already sinful slice of life.

Kaffee und Kuchen - Schloss-Cafe Poppelsdorf - Bonn, Germany
Bonn is still home to many wonderful destinations for kaffee und kuchen. I’m partial to Schloss-Café Poppelsdorf, as they have a wonderful selection of cakes and a wonderful outdoor patio. I would also recommend Breuer’s Cafe, which, although a bit on the outskirts of Bonn, houses a huge offering of sweets. Both cafes – along with most cafes here in Bonn – happily serve delicious coffee drinks to accompany these treats, and I am never disappointed in the quality of coffee here in Germany.

Tradition is what brings us together and what keeps us together, and when it comes to German bakeries, tradition is constantly challenging my waistline. The sweet spot of this tradition embodies two things I adore: the chance to indulge in excessive desserts (before dinner of all things) and the chance to spend time with family and friends. Kaffee und kuchen, antiquated as it may be, acknowledges the need to cut a slice out of our busy lives, to designate an afternoon to simply talk, and of course to do this while stuffing our faces with sugary, fat-laden, cream-stuffed wonder.

Kafee und Kuchen - A German Pastime

Schloss-Café Poppelsdorf
Clemens-August-Str. 21
53115 Bonn
+49 228 441503
Café Breuer
Königswinterer Str. 697
53227 Bonn
+49 228 4330800


James Boo July 5, 2010 at 11:53 am

I’ve become obsessed with teatime recently… not so much the appointed time as the act of taking a breather and enjoying the simple pleasure of coffee and pastry, as you’ve been doing. The corner of my new bedroom will soon house a 2×2′ bar table, two stools, a Japanese tea set, French press, and pastry dish expressly for this purpose! I love sharing a coffee with a friend at the local cafe, but there’s something about having a teatime corner at home that is immensely more appealing.

Chris July 15, 2010 at 11:55 am

Hello! I am spending the month of July in Bonn and happened upon your articles while Googling for some particular places to eat. I will have to give Schloss-Café a try! Many thanks.

Tyler Luiten July 16, 2010 at 6:53 am

@ James – So glad you are a fan of the tradition as well – it’s nice that it still lives on in other places in the world, in other people’s lives.

@ Chris – Enjoy your time in Bonn! Hope you get to discover and enjoy many of the culinary delights here to be had!

swimmer September 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm

omg they look amze balls

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