Krésten Thøgersen relocated from Melbourne to Berlin for one reason – to open a cafe that people left happier than when they arrived. His mission statement: To up the quality of life. Krésten opened Father Carpenter Coffee Brewers in Mitte in January 2015, and so far it looks like his purpose is being achieved.
After spending some time in Berlin in 2009, Krésten felt that the city was missing a certain something in relation to coffee culture. Originally from the central coast of New South Wales Australia, Krésten had spent a significant time involved in Melbourne’s hospitality industry, and saw the level of quality and service that could be achieved. However he says Melbourne is saturated with cafes and restaurants and new businesses are usually in the spotlight for 10 months or so before the punters move on to the next exciting thing. Keen to open a place of his own, his thoughts came back to Berlin and the gap in the market he had seen back in 2009.
But when he returned in mid 2013, he says he forgot that the scene had evolved since he’d been in Berlin last. In the interim, some of the main players in the Third Wave coffee movement had opened their doors and suddenly he wasn’t going to be the only one on the block offering a good cup of coffee.
Having said that, Krésten felt that while there were now a lot of cafes concentrating on coffee, in a lot of cases there was a one-dimensional focus. His aim was to create a hospitality business that was the whole package – where the product, the service and the aesthetic were all as equally as important as each other.
And so it is for that reason that the decisions regarding how things are run at Father Carpenter are very deliberate ones. Their menu is a good example; In the early months, the cafe offered popular brunch options such as avocado on toast with a poached egg. But, the reality was that due to the size and set up of the kitchen, they were not equipped to execute this sort of food to the standard and at the speed that Krésten was satisfied with. So to the disappointment of some customers, while they are in the process of building a more suitable kitchen, they have replaced this style of food with house-made sandwiches, quiches and salads. Essentially things that can be pre-made. As Krésten says, it’s important to work with what you have.
Unsurprisingly, the importance of quality and substance are applied to all other aspects of the business. Krésten says the staff are well paid and they work with quality products – both coffee and food. You can sense a quiet pride when he says that in all the steps along the way – from sourcing the coffee beans to serving the coffee to the guest, no one was trodden on. To our mind that’s the kind of attitude that will ensure a long and sustainable life for this business.