City of Change: An Ode to Berlin, and All Who Live Here

When friends come to visit me in Berlin, the first thing I do is take them somewhere high up for a skyline tour of the city. Every time, I find myself gushing, going on and on about the pockets and pleasures of this magical place. Berlin is more than my hometown. It’s also my favorite city in the world.

Perched atop the highest view I can find, I point out the city centers surrounding us, distinct neighborhoods mingled together in the city’s patchwork. These kiez are each little worlds unto themselves, cultures within a culture, blurring together at the edges. Some days, as I stroll through the Berlin streets, it feels like I should be filling my passport. As I make my way from kiez to kiez, the prices on the restaurant placards and kiosks appear in a Babel of languages, shifting with the communities they serve. The graffiti is unreadable, layered in interwoven streams of Arabic, Polish and French.

Mural by blu

It is impossible to be in Berlin without soaking up a veritable deluge of impressions.

Multicultural and creative, the diverse population makes inspiration unavoidable. Berlin draws in people from all over the world, acting as a magnet for creatives, freelancers, and project-builders. The result is an international melting pot of driven, passionate people. Their energy seems to vibrate. It bounces from innovator to innovator, magnifying into the pure creative force propelling Berlin perpetually forward.

By certain standards, Berlin is a poor city. My hometown lacks spending power. We’ve never had a huge financial sector, or a service sector with large companies. Berliners generally don’t go sit in the office of an international conglomerate with a couple hundred employees. These major companies have never been a part of our landscape. As a result, life here is cheap, rent is low, and day-to-day costs affordable. For creators and project-builders, the “poverty” of Berlin is actually a fortune. Without financial worry, these innovators have space to bloom and grow they wouldn’t have in more expensive metropolitan centers.

Beyond cost, however, people come to Berlin to feel at home.

It’s a uniquely nurturing, open-minded space. Thinking about and exercising change here is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. Since the Prussians, through the Second World War, the fall of the Wall, and every historical flux before, after and between, Berlin has always been characterized by rebirth, regrowth, and revolution. It inspires me to think how many times the city would be down to ashes and then suddenly come back alive, blooming and growing. Every epochal episode in Berlin has been distinguished by one constant: the ability to create, change and grow.

In Berlin, you can do anything.

There’s cultural freedom woven into the very fabric of the city’s character. When the weather’s amiable, I like to follow the skyline tour by taking my visitors to Tempelhof, a former airport transformed into a gorgeous green space. Someone woke up one morning and thought, “Why don’t we turn the old airport into a park?” Now there’s nothing but green trees, bushes, and expanses of grass. The runway remains, but it’s now used for roller-skating and biking. Sitting on the grass, watching a roller-skating kiteboarder fly down the runway into the distance, all I can think is, “This is what Berlin is all about.”

Tempelhofer Feld in 2012 — Shooting location for Mocking Jay (A. Savin)

As the days grow shorter and colder, the season for Tempelhof expeditions passes. Berlin, however, remains alive and bright, vibrating with the spirit of change. In winter even the wind whistles with transformation. On these icy November mornings, as I make my way to the tram, the gusts rush through the streets, swirling leaves around footsteps and leaving rosy cheeks below the bright, engaged eyes of the idea-driven. Every day I sit on the tram and look around at people already in an innovative space, thinking about movements, change, great ideas and projects. You can see the passion and inspiration on their faces, wheels turning as they develop ideas. Their thoughts are almost tangible, suspended like the fog rising on their exhale in the chill autumn air.

They warm their hands around cups in coffee corners, typing and discussing and building, the air abuzz with brainstorms and innovations. Like the Kaffeehauser of old Vienna, the coffeehouses of Berlin become thought centers. Inside, project-builders, freelancers and freestylers work away on building whole new worlds, developing tomorrow’s ways of living, breathing, and thinking.

These Berliners are my inspiration.

Bonaverde, I believe, could only have been born here, in this city of change. To live here, after all, is to hear the constant call to take part in the citywide gestalt, the constant forward motion that enlivens its streets and tram seats. We built Bonaverde to inspire people to choose to use their interaction with the coffee industry to create change, revolutionizing an industry by choosing our product over traditional coffee. By choosing Bonaverde, consumers choose to be part of a movement. They become Coffee Changers, swept up in the whistling, change-spirited Berlin wind.

Berlin is the fastest growing start up hub (Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015)

Bonaverde is also our contribution to this city’s inspiring population, a “thank you” for the buzzing energy they bring to every corner of my beloved hometown. It’s for every last face on the tram, bundled and brilliant in the November chill, for all their ideas, innovations, and passions. It’s for the freelancers and project-builders populating its coffee houses, where better ways of living and thinking are brewed in caffeine-fueled brainstorms. They are our friends, our collaborators, our comrades-in-arms, and our inspirations. We hope the Bonaverde idea, and, of course, its delicious coffee, will fuel them through many projects to come.

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