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.