Everyone who visits Germany will inevitably end up in a café at some point.
That's why I've compiled a list of phrases you can use to find your way around a German café. For simplicity, this scenario assumes a café where you order and pay at the counter, although the conversation is virtually the same in a café with table service.
Remember that the other customers and café staff are strangers, so address them as "Sie" rather than "du." When you go to the counter, greet your barista with a: Guten Morgen/Guten Tag. Good morning! / Good morning! Now order your drink like this: Einen Kaffee, bitte / Einen Tee, bitte / Eine heiße Schokolade, bitte. A coffee, please. / A tea, please. / A hot chocolate, please. If you're taking something to go, add to go to your sentence: Einen Kaffee zum Mitnehmen, bitte / Einen Tee zum Mitnehmen, bitte / Eine heiße Schokolade zum Mitnehmen, bitte. A coffee to go, please / A tea to go, please / A hot chocolate to go, please. As you can see from the sign above, the Germans have also adopted the English expression "to go" instead of "zum Mitnehmen". Also, the German coffee names are a little confusing. A Milchkaffee sounds like a regular filter coffee with milk, but it's actually half a cup of filter coffee topped up with hot milk. If you want a coffee with cold milk, you'll have to ask for " Kaffee mit Milch ," whereupon you'll most likely be served a cup of black coffee, and add the milk or Sahne (cream) yourself.
A Latte Macchiato might cause confusion in an English café, but in Germany, this is an ordinary coffee served in a tall glass and consisting of hot milk, espresso and foam. This is different from both a latte and a macchiato as we know them. Yes, it's all a bit confusing! But Filterkaffee filter coffee is very popular in Germany and usually very good (read: strong) no matter where you go. If you're not sure what to go for but don't want to end up with a Milchkaffee or other frothy drink, ask for a filter coffee or just a coffee.
Once you get your drink, your waiter may ask you, Sonst noch was? / Noch etwas dazu? Anything else? / Anything else to go with that? Answer if you don't want anything else: Nein, danke. Das ist alles. No, thank you. That's all.
Möchtest du jetzt einen Kaffee trinken? Ja, nein, vielleicht...