A new third wave coffee shop opened in Hamburg. The siblings Chris Balz and Kathrin Balz opened their concept right in between Hoheluft Ost, Hoheluft West, Eppendorf and Harvestehude. So the customers got a bit of poshness, though the price is very reasonable. Balz^2 is a bobo* type of café, like Elbgold. But small-scale and with personality. It keeps up with the current trend of cafés but stays German nevertheless: open-faced sandwiches, Blechkuchen and weekend breakfasts.
On a sunny and cold Friday afternoon it was quite full. Even though it’s just by big Hoheluftchaussee, all it appears to be, is a little shining pearl on Lehmweg.
After walking in, my eye first spotted the cute designer poster-cards and Keep Cups that they sell. Next I was tempted by the little twisted cinnamon roll, which I definitely want to give a try next time. But we had coffee, tea, Stullen and Blechkuchen. The flat white, reasonably priced at 2,80€, was just as great as other third waves’ with a sour hint. I got the ginger-lemongrass tea, which was served beautifully with the fresh (to being infused) herbs assorted on a plate atop and a little bowl of honey aside.
Stullen are North German open-faced sandwiches. Similar to danish Smørrebrod if you know that. They top dark dense bread with traditional coldcuts and cheeses. Mine is the goat-cream cheese, red beet and sprouts which tasted unique and fresh. My dad chose the aged salami from Hessen. Our dessert, Blechkuchen (Blech= baking tray, Kuchen = cake), is also typical for German cake-time. They bake a variety of these: apple cake, cherry crumble, Zupfkuchen*, Austrian Linzer Torte, or curd poppyseed (Quark-Mohn).
Friday through Sunday the breakfasts are like they would be described in a German story book. Different home-baked breads and rolls (whole grain, spelt, rye or from curd), and carefully chosen cheese and cold cuts. For example the homemade “Cancoillotte” with caraway, a 12-month aged nutty north German Deichkäse or if you want to be really classical then try the Bauernleberwurst, (“farmer” liver sausage) and Mettwurst (a German sausage spread). But that’s not my stuff, so for peeps like me they make organic scrambled eggs with fresh herbs or sweet waffles as well. Oh and finally, the “sweet” german breakfast, that’s the aforementioned breads with butter and cream cheese, honey or jam and a side of fruit with Quark. It’s basic, but popular.
Lunch menus vary daily, as well as creative seasonal soups and stews. (Check out their Instagram to get inspired!)
The interior isn’t large, but spacious enough to have an own spot and not feel uncomfortable doing some laptop or book work. In the back half of the room are four small tables; in the front a large community table decorated with vases of flowers. By the windows they arranged two cozy windowill spots for duos, mirrored by equivalent tables and stools outside.
Balz and Balz is a great new addition to Hamburg’s cafés, especially in the Hoheluft area, which needed a cozy place to escape to. Not too unconventional but individual with a broad audience and hidden German flair to all of it.
*bobo (bohemian-bourgeois): that means maybe an itsy bit “snobby” (people are well tailored, freshly showered and might spend more on their haircut than an average person spends monthly eating out) but still with laid-back features, casual customers and open friendliness
*Zupfkuchen: (Russian-German cheesecake, which is more fluffy, with splotches of Chocolate and crumble on top)
When? Tu-Fr: 8-18, Sa-Su: 9-17
How much? Cappuccino 1,90€, Flat White 2,80€
Where? Lehmweg 6, between Hoheluft/Eppendorf/Harvestehude