Kaffeesteuer is a tax on coffee in Germany.  The tax is included in the price of coffee that is bought in German shops.

The tax originally started in Prussia, but was confirmed in its current form before the formation of the Federal Republic in 1948 in is even mentioned in the German basic law (Grundgesetz).

This causes problems for people who buy their coffee outside of Germany, for example in Dutch supermarkets or by mail order.  Theoretically they should declare the coffee and pay the tax, and failure to do so can cause the tax office to investigate the non-payment.

Whilst the mail-order situation may be clear, buying the coffee for one’s own personal use and bringing it back to Germany causes a conflict between various German tax and custom laws, not to mention EU laws.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download the MP3 file | Subscribe to the podcast


Content not available.
Please allow cookies by clicking Accept on the banner
About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


  1. I think coffee is still seen as a luxury as it was when the tax was first introduced. At present it is 2.19EUR/kg although there are different rates for instant coffee and coffee pads.


  1. […] After all, there is a tax on being a member of a Church, a tax to support German re-unification, even a tax on coffee! […]

Speak Your Mind


Please click on ACCEPT to give us permission to set cookies [more information]

This website uses cookies to give you the best browsing experience possible. Cookies are small text files that are stored by the web browser on your computer. Most of the cookies that we use are so-called “Session cookies”. These are automatically deleted after your visit. The cookies do not damage your computer system or contain viruses. Please read our privacy information page for more details or to revoke permission.