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December Part 1: elbgold, Hamburg

December Part 1: elbgold, Hamburg

Elbgold, one of the first roasters in Hamburg to roast specialty-coffee as well as trade directly with coffee producers, started already in 2004.

It was the interest and passion for coffee of the couple Annika Taschinski and Thomas Kliefoth that brought it to life, and that it made elbgold grow to what it is today: a roastery deeply involved in the whole process of coffee-production. 

In this short interview you will get to know elbgold and what they stand for. Please brew a cup (for recipes scroll down) , and enjoy!


Who started Elbgold and what is their background? When and how did Elbgold start?

- Elbgold was founded in December 18th 2004 by Annika Taschinski, a former PR agent and Thomas Kliefoth, who worked as an architect. Even though both had another background, the idea and passion for coffee started long before.

During several (back then holiday-) trips to countries around the world, they always ended up on a coffee plantation and got in touch with the farmers.

The idea was born, and a passion became an occupation. At the time it was only the two of them in a small shop in Hamburg-Winterhude and costumers were invited to taste the espressos, learn about specialty coffee, direct trade (which was a first) and the third wave approach.


What was the vision/dream with Elbgold? Is it close to what Elbgold is today?

- The idea of elbgold crisp and clear? To carry happy and fair-traded coffee to Hamburg, Germany and Europe. Annika and Thomas understood that selling coffee over here offers the chance to create awareness for the product itself, working conditions and daily businesses of farmers and the whole specialty concept. Talking about coffee with everything that’s part of this huge field was and is one of the most important things we do.

So yeah, mission completed, as far as that is possible in a still ongoing process.


You have several different spaces around Hamburg - how do they differ from each other and what makes them special? We have understood that one of the founders is an architect by trade. ;)

- Every elbgold shop is unique. Starting with the flagship store at Sternschanze, which combines our roastery and the Café in one beautiful place, where you can watch how the coffee is roasted. Ending with the shop at city center, which we like to call ‘coffee lab’, since we offer all the different brewing methods and organize cuppings or events.

When we step into a new store, we try to understand the potential of the rooms and the neighborhood instead of just throwing an elbgold cape all over the place.

Once it comes to the set up, we love to combine a chic, maybe industrial design with a homey and special feeling. That said, we actually try to put our main product – coffee – in the center of it all, to do what we love to do: Talk about coffee!


You trade all of your coffee directly - how did you start doing it and which origin did you start with? What were some of the challenges at the beginning?

- Almost 17 years ago we started to buy our coffees directly from the farmers. Obviously, as a small roastery at the very beginning we faced the challenge to organize the shipment and the logistics. Also, we were not able to handle a whole harvest by ourselves. Therefore, the solution was to share the shipping as well as the harvests with other befriended roasters in Europe.

After Thomas debut in 2008 in Bolivia, in 2009 Annika and Thomas took part as a juror at the Cup of Excellence in Costa Rica, where they first met Roberto Mata, the farmer who produces the two coffees you picked for your subscribers. Our first very own direct trade took place that year with one of Roberto’s amazing coffee.

Starting with one harvest, we nowadays handle 180T coffee/ year at elbgold.


Can you tell us more about the relationship you have with the farm we have chosen for our December coffee-box?

 - The relationship we have with Roberto Mata is more like a friendship. We first met several years ago in 2009 at the Cup of Excellence in Costa Rica, where we as international jurors got the chance to taste and evaluate the best coffees in the country.

Roberto was the manager of a cooperative at the time, which took 13th place. After the award ceremony, we visited him in his home in Santa Maria de Dota. Since then, we have been visiting each other almost every year and half of the elbgold team has now also been guests of Roberto and his wife Doris.

With the compiled knowledge of almost 50 years in the coffee business, Roberto is a walking encyclopedia of coffee - he simply knows everything about the cultivation and preparation of coffee. Due to his experience, his closeness to nature and his love for his homeland, Roberto has been a pioneer in the sustainable cultivation of coffee in harmony with nature for decades.

Three years ago he founded a small family business with his wife Doris and their five children. Right behind his house, he now prepares his coffees himself in his own micromill with a water-saving ecopulper and on raised beds.


Last question, do you have any fun Christmas traditions at elbgold? :)

- Luckily our coffees became a popular Christmas gift, so the days before Christmas it gets pretty busy in our shops.

Our patisserie bakes every year the most delicious Christmas cookies, the Cinnamon Stars will knock your socks off!

On Christmas Eve we finish business during noon, close up the store and share a glass Champagne with the team – and then its Christmas!




Country: Costa Rica

Region: Tarrazu, Valle de Dota

Altitude: 1800 masl

Producer: Roberto Mata Naranjo

Process: Juicy Honey Fermentation

Variety: Red Caturra

Roberto Mata enjoys to experiment with new types of preparation in order to create even more exciting coffees. Its latest highlight: Juicy Honey Fermentation. To do this, the cherries are peeled and fermented in their own mucilage plus the pulp of another lot for 120 hours. The result is what feels like twice as sweet and fruity coffee that tastes like red grits, white lemon balm and rock candy.


How to brew it? Ready or not, here comes a real flavor explosion: LA PACHUCA – Juicy Honey.

As a filter coffee we love all the different options. The Hario V60 for instance: 15g coffee (medium fine grind), 240ml water (94°) and a contract time of 2:30 – 3:30 minutes.

As an espresso set up, we start with 18g VST portafilter for a double shot in our La Marzocco. Here we use a little more coffee (18,5g) and a duration time of 28 seconds for again the output of 40ml.



Country: Costa Rica

Region: Tarrazu, Valle de Dota

Altitude: 1800 masl

Producer: Roberto Mata Naranjo

Process: Washed

Variety: Caturra


As filter coffee: We love the results of LAS NUBES, a washed Caturra, served in a Kalita. We usually go with the SCA Cupping standards and parameters: 14g coffee (medium fine grind), 240ml water (94°C) and a contact time of 3 – 3,30 minutes. Extraction time: 2:35 minutes

As espresso: As a set up, we start with 18g VST portafilter for a double shot in our La Marzocco. Since the LAS NUBES is a light/medium roast, we recommend to use not less than 18,4g coffee, a duration of 29 seconds and an outcome of 40ml.


After having gotten to know elbgold and what they strive for everyday, here comes the second featured roastery 80plus from Barcelona