“Uber-hipster”, “bearded tattooed or otherwise alternative professional baristas [who] think they’re better than the average human” are just some of the Google reviews that pop up when you search for THE BARN. Controversial. Arrogant. Pretentious. Each defines the café with a smear of bad blood, however despite their unfavourable reputation with the general public, within the industry they are nothing short of an institution.
With a theme of sophistication, minimalism and attention to detail that thread between the two locations - a roastery on Schönhauser Allee and the little BARN on Augustrsraße - both design and product offer a level of quality that is hard to beat. Focusing more on the delivery of a well-balanced cup of coffee and highly composed flavours, the philosophy cares more about your palate than service and comfort.
Offering an education in the life of a coffee bean through cupping sessions, a detailed coffee menu and professional, knowledgeable staff, it is hard to call THE BARN a “café” which is where the misconceptions start. No WIFI, a friendly no computer policy and the cause of all the controversy: a child-free environment - thanks to a strategically placed, rather large concrete block (in the shape of a tamper) at front of the doorway, means THE BARN is there to feed you coffee and not to be your hang out, workplace or crèche. Though this preconception may not be to everyone’s taste, the exceptional quality and methodology behind the coffee should be.
Definitely a pit stop for the purest of coffee lovers in Berlin, THE BARN has strict servicing guidelines; a somewhat milk-free zone (no special milk), only a double shot option and a heavy filter coffee theme with a summer cold brew menu served over five different kinds of ice, and every filter contraption available on the market. It is also a great place to pick up beans, equipment, machinery and of course merchandise.
For sure THE BARN is not inclusive of all coffee drinkers, but with an abundance of cafes serving mediocre coffee all over the city, surely there is no harm in one that can be a little choosy.
Words & photography by Ella King