Coffee. And cats. And the sight of an incredible cozy place welcome you when you open Anna Schättgen´s instagram account beifreundinnen. We chatted to the likeable German barista and coffee roaster about her ideas of a perfect flatshare, her passion for coffee and how she discovered more sustainability.
You live in such an amazing looking and cozy flatshare. You live there since 2007, right? And said it´s the first place since your parent´s home that feels like home to you. How many changing flatmates did you have during that time and did you feel like home there since the very beginning?
I’ve lived in this flat for almost exactly two years now. When I first moved in, I thought this would be my first real own apartment with a big kitchen and a second room as a living room. When I was close to finishing all the rooms, my best friend split up with her boyfriend and was in need of a place to live. I offered her my living room until she would find a new place. That was over a year ago and it didn’t take us very long to realize, that this is the way we want to live at the moment. So she brought all her furniture and plants and that annoying but very cute orange cat and moved in for good.
I would not have done that with any other friend. Lea and I have known each other since we went to school together and this is the fourth time we share a flat. We’ve been to Trier, Hamburg and now Cologne. We lived together and in different places and had countless flatmates. This time our only flatmates are two cute cats and they make this place feel like home, too.
Flatshares with the right people is an amazing thing and can be like family. It can also be tricky though. For me it´s important to find the right balance of spending quality time together and showing real interest for your flatmate but also giving each other enough space. What is important for you when you share your home with someone?
For me it’s important that all rooms are open and feel like a safe place to both of us and that it’s also ok to shut the door and respect quiet time. As we know each other very well and have lived together in different places and times of our lives, we can handle each other and care for each other in good and bad times. That doesn’t mean that we are never annoyed by the other person and like all the bad habits everyone has, but that makes it feel like family and a place where we can both be ourselves.
We don’t have separate shelves in the kitchen and share all the groceries. There are times, we spend a lot of free time together and sometimes we rarely see each other. But most of the time we know, that there is this place and a person and two cats that we come home to and rely on.
“Flatsharing: For me it’s important that all rooms are open and feel like a safe place to both of us and that it’s also ok to shut the door and respect quiet time.”
Are there moments where you think about living alone?
Oh yes! Even though we are best friends, it works very well and we both benefit from that flatshare we are also very different. And isn’t it much easier to stumble over your own mess and leave things lying around than to do that with the other ones stuff.
But right now I would not want to miss our messes and especially not the one after my flatmate has cooked me yet another perfect dinner! And I’m sure she appreciates me making her coffee :)
Was the decoration already like that when you moved in? And where do you look for inspiration for home decoration?
The apartment was completely empty. But I knew the former tenant and he left the wallpapers in all rooms and he gave me the inspiration for the pastel vintage cupboard in the kitchen that I found on ebay. He used to have a similar one when he lived here. Most of the rest of the furniture is a mixture of second hand and IKEA. We definitely have too much furniture but also too much stuff, so we need the storage space.
It might not look like it, but the kitchen is mostly functional. Lea is a really good cook. So herbs and seasonings are ready to use and not in a cupboard. For me, as I am a barista, the coffee machine and all the equipment is important and I like to show that. So I guess it’s important to both of us to give our home a personal touch.
Well, and as everyone can see: We both love plants. They make this place living. Of course we bought some of our plants, but many of them tell stories that go back to our parents student’s apartments. They are what gives this place the cozy touch.
You found our place on instagram. The daily exchange on that platform gives me a lot inspiration for interior. I also like to go out for coffee and make stops at nicely furnished shops.
“Our cats make our flat a home. They tie us to this place and have us care for them.”
I have only 5 plants in my flat and it´s so much work already. Your places is so full of lovely green, so how do you manage to take care of all that and where does your love for plants come from?
I really can’t tell. I’ve already had plants in my teenage bedroom so I think it kind of comes naturally. My urban jungle has grown step by step so I could not really notice the lot of work it has become. On Sundays I love taking time for tidying the apartment and then watering the plants. It has become a ritual for which I turn on a podcast and scurry through the rooms. So it’s a lot of work but for me it is super calming.
Also small Seedlings are the perfect gift for any occasion and almost everyone :)
This year was also about clearing out your clothes and other things at home. Besides the the tidiness that this can bring what else have you gained from that process?
Sustainability is a big thing today and especially when it comes to clothes I wanted to change the way I handle it. My wardrobe is still packed with unworn dresses, shirts and trousers but I kept on shopping for a few years. At some point last year I realized the abundance of it all. So I decided to take a few steps to a more sustainable wardrobe. First I gave many clothes to charity, put some in a box to check if I would miss them and some in a box to sell them on instagram or on a flea-market. I was kind of shocked about the ease it took me to get rid of so many things. That big clean out made me have a full month without consumption. I told my best friends to monitor and they soon realized that there was no need for that.
That’s six months ago now and I didn’t miss the shopping. So I keep on shopping consciously and have come to buy fair fashion or second hand clothes only. And before I buy anything now I rethink the decision and when it comes to clothes I consider what I really need and what other clothes I can match it with.
You also live with two adorable cats. What´s the best thing that pets „bring“ into a home?
This is simple. Our cats make our flat a home. They tie us to this place and have us care for them. By being our responsibility they make us leave the house for food when we are not feeling well.
They are quiet and love to mind their own business. But most of the time they are just cute and cuddly and warm. And they know where they belong.
“Before I buy anything now I rethink the decision and when it comes to clothes I consider what I really need and what other clothes I can match it with.”
What fascinated you to become a barista?
When I first started a job as a barista I was only looking for any job to bridge-over some time between studies. As I have always been a rather crafty person I soon became very committed to becoming very accurate with all the steps to prepare every coffee in the same quality. The part that totally got me at the beginning was the shop managing part. Like at home I love it when everything has its own space and is well organized. I just loved everything about it. And being German and super reasonable I started an apprenticeship as a professional caterer to have a proper education going along with my passion.
I still like the organizing part but being the person behind the coffee-machine that prepares super delicious coffee makes me feel happy every day. I even have a proper machine at home now that I use for caterings and for every friend that comes over. It’s my safe place.
Over the last years I was lucky to go even deeper into coffee. I’m now not only a barista but also a coffee roaster. This job makes me look at those beans in a different way. I’ve learned to appreciate their origins and different shapes and tastes. Their way all over to Germany and the process it goes through until you get the perfect sip in your cup.
To me it’s more than a job. It really is a passion.
You said that you have big plans for next year that involves stepping forward from behind the coffee machine and the camera. Can you tell us more about those plans?
YES PLEASE! I have worked on a social media concept for the last months and am soon launching my own coffee podcast. Kaffeesahne Podcast will introduce the world (well.. The German speaking part) to the stories behind the machine, the roaster and companies that work in the coffee business. We talk about personal motivation, struggles, ideas and the opportunities that we have to impress ourselves in this business.
Accompanied to the podcast there is an instagram account that builds a platform for a coffee community that is invited to inter-exchange ideas and questions. I want the people to get together through social media and give them the impact to meet up and work together in real life.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’m super looking forward to having a family and for the first time I think I will be able to keep doing what I love and have both in my life. I have always been very clear with my life goals and have struggled hard when I realized life would not turn out the way I wished it would.
For the first time I would say that I don’t know where I will be, but I’m pretty sure that everything will just work out more than fine.
So maybe I will be a very famous coffee influencer everyone wants to talk to at some point or have my own specialty coffee cafe in Köln Kalk and people would dare to cross the Rhine river to get the best coffee in town.
Well I will definitely keep brewing :)