The Barn is a bucolic coffee bar in the Mitte district that boasts top-quality coffee (from Copenhagen's famed fair-trade Coffee Collective) and a local-food ethos, inspired largely by the owner's formative years in rural Germany and his mother's penchant for baking. Ornamented with rustic touches, like bales of hay, knotty wood benches and tables, and a large chalkboard menu, the cafe has cultivated a large bean since it opened two years ago and shows no signs of slowing. I'd make the trip to Berlin just for a cappuccino and a scone.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
The Barn, Part 2
Perhaps Berlin's greatest gourmet coffee shop, the Barn has faced a wave of controversy surrounding its second location, which opened in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood last September. At this larger space, meant to serve more as a tasting lab and roasting home than an extension of the intimate first venture, dogs, laptops and strollers, among other things, are not welcome. You can also forget about sugar or anything other than whole milk for your coffee.
On a recent visit, the only background noise came from the winter wind slamming against the front windows—no music, just the sound of the next customer's brew coming to life.
Ralf Rüller, the owner, considers himself a purist and sought to create an environment as free from distraction as possible; to allow coffee aficionados the kind of transcendental experience their beans and roasting deserves. As he explained in an interview with The Guardian: "The only way for me to survive as a small entrepreneur against big coffee chains, whose margins are much higher, is to narrow what we do and do it better."
His approach, albeit contested by local families, has proven successful, and the offering that made the Barn so beloved remains as delicious as ever.
The roastery is a shrine for serious coffee drinkers and a welcoming hangout for those willing to part with their digital appendages/boisterous children/over-excited pets for a moment of caffeinated calm.
If you insist on milk and sugar in your coffee, The Barn may not be the coffee shop for you. The folks here take the art of coffee making seriously and coffee devotion to a whole new level, as evident in the superior brews they produce from the beans they roast themselves.
Although steamed milk is available, baristas advise you not to take them with your drink for an authentic coffee experience. Their single origin coffees at €3 - €3.50 for a cup, sourced from countries like Kenya and Ethiopia, are prepared through methods like V60 or aeropress, and the type of beans change regularly. Served black, this acidic coffee is lightly accented with fruity undertones. The iced AeroPress brew is also a great refresher.
If you’re not particular about brew or bean type, the usual cappuccino and flat white are also available. Their flat white at €2.80 is extremely smooth and roasted to perfection that even the casual coffee drinker can appreciate. There's also some organic sandwiches if you fancy a bite.
Sip your fresh roast on the small stools outside with a view of the Berliner Dom in the distance as there are limited seats inside. Coffee enthusiasts may be interested to visit their roastery on Schönhauser Allee 8 that has more seating space.
After your coffee break, go for a walk down Auguststr for more restaurants, cafes and galleries! Walk further and you'll find yourself at Oranienburgerstr, cool part of Berlin with street art, bars, Berlin's oldest synagogue and a park.