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A cappuccino with a milky heart along side a slice of apple cake was a great way to start out the morning earlier this month at Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt, Germany. The espresso in the cappuccino was strong and tasty.
A cappuccino with a milky heart along side a slice of apple cake was a great way to start out the morning earlier this month at Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt, Germany. The espresso in the cappuccino was strong and tasty. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, a small town in the middle of the Pfalz wine region, is most famous for its many wine taverns and thousands of acres of vineyards.

Wine, however, isn’t the only beverage worth sipping when visiting Neustadt, about 25 miles southeast of Kaiserslautern on the German Wine Route. Anyone who loves coffee should stop at Blank Roast for a satisfying cup of joe that beats anything with caffeine from Barbarossa or McCafe.

As soon as you walk in the door, the aroma of coffee greets you. A hulking machine made in the 1930s and fitted with state-of-the-art controls hums loudly in the corner. The coffee beans are roasted and then cooled and spun in an open vat.

Coffee beans are roasted in a large vat inside Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt, Germany.
Coffee beans are roasted in a large vat inside Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Master roaster Holger K. Blank has been at the helm of the shop’s coffee-making since 2007. Blank’s methods are unique; during the roasting process, he adds organic grapevines from the region, which add moisture and bring out more aroma from the beans, the coffee shop’s Facebook page says.

Vanilla, almond and cinnamon are among the flavor notes created during roasting, Blank Roast employee Helmut Lohre said. “We are roasting the coffee beans very long, about 15 to 20 minutes,” he said.

On a recent morning I saw Blank checking on the beans as they cooled. Customers get a front-row view of the cafe’s open workspace.

What this also means is that getting lost in one’s thoughts or holding a conversation over a cup of coffee may be disrupted by the noise of the roaster firing up. But the tradeoff is enjoying the fragrant smell of roasting beans coupled with a hearty cappuccino.

A latte with two shots of espresso is a delicious morning beverage at Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt, Germany, Nov. 9, 2021.
A latte with two shots of espresso is a delicious morning beverage at Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt, Germany, Nov. 9, 2021. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Daily breakfast options are listed on a board, and it’s best to ask about those choices when ordering at the counter. A selection of cakes and pastries and pre-made sandwiches are available all day.

Fresh cake and pastries make a nice accompaniment to coffee at Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt, Germany.
Fresh cake and pastries make a nice accompaniment to coffee at Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt, Germany. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

The apple cake was especially good. You can order coffee by type of bean and aroma, as described on a chalkboard by the register. Also available are shots of two kinds of espresso, cappuccinos, latte macchiatos, mochaccinos, milk coffee and hot chocolate.

The café also sells coffee beans, whole or ground, by the bag. Other regional food items are for sale, from local wines and jams to cooking oils and holiday cookies.

Stars and Stripes reporter Marcus Kloeckner contributed to this report.

Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt is a must-stop for coffee lovers when touring Germany’s Wine Route. The store roasts its own beans, a process customers can observe inside the shop, which is infused with rich coffee aroma.
Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt is a must-stop for coffee lovers when touring Germany’s Wine Route. The store roasts its own beans, a process customers can observe inside the shop, which is infused with rich coffee aroma. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)
Tall glass windows fronting the store allow for a lot of natural light inside Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt, Germany, Nov. 9, 2021. The shop roasts its own coffee beans, which it sells in many varieties.
Tall glass windows fronting the store allow for a lot of natural light inside Blank Roast coffee shop in Neustadt, Germany, Nov. 9, 2021. The shop roasts its own coffee beans, which it sells in many varieties. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

Blank Roast

Location: Mussbacher Landstrasse 21, 67433 Neustadt an der Weinstrasse

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Sundays. Breakfast from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Reservations encouraged but not required.

Prices: Coffee drinks cost from 2.50 euros to 3.80 euros (about $2.90 to $4.35), depending on the size of drink and type of bean. Large cappuccinos and latte macchiatos cost 4 euros. Other options such as cake and pastries start at about 1.50 euros.

English menu: No, but some English spoken.

Information: Phone: +49-(0)6321-93788-0; Email; info@blankroast.de; Online: blankroast.de; Facebook: search under Blank Roast Manufaktur.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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