The Barn Schönhauser Allee

A V60 of the Radiophare, a naturally-processed coffee from Indonesia, served in a carafe with a cup on the side, all presented on a wooden tray.When talking of speciality coffee in Berlin, you can’t avoid The Barn, which now boasts 10 Berlin coffee shops, two more overseas (Mallorca, Dubia) and an international reputation for roasting excellent coffee. It’s all the more impressive considering that The Barn only started 12 years ago with the original Mitte coffee shop. Sadly, I couldn’t make it there, going instead for the next best thing, the original roastery/coffee shop on nearby Schönhauser Allee. The Barn’s second location when it opened in 2012, all the coffee was roasted here until the new roastery/coffee shop opened on Voltastraße in late 2020.

These days, Schönhauser Allee is “just” a coffee shop, a large, welcoming space with a massive counter and plenty of seating inside and out. Unusually, there’s no printed menu, either on the counter or displayed on the walls. Instead, a QR Code invites you online for the latest menu, where you’ll find a standard seasonal offering across all The Barn’s Berlin locations. This includes a concise espresso-based menu, two options on pour-over through the V60, plus cold brew, tea, hot chocolate and a range of cakes. The specific beans (all single-origins) vary by location, chosen by the baristas every few days.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The Barn on Schönhauser Allee in Prenzlauer Berg. There's a bench at the far end...
  • ... by the door, and three small three-legged tables to the right of that.
  • Each of the tables has, in a nice touch of symmetry, three three-legged stools.
  • The door is at the far, left-hand end, where there's a table, but with just two stools.
  • Let's go in.
  • The Barn is L-shaped, with an L-shaped counter diagonally opposite the door.
  • The counter runs almost the full width of The Barn. There's seating at the front...
  • ... with a window-bar in each window. The first window has three stools...
  • ... the second has four, while the last window, seen here, has five stools.
  • There's more seating down the side of The Barn, beyond a table holding bags of coffee.
  • This continues past the counter all the way to the back of the (very large) space.
  • There's a four-person table against the left-hand wall...
  • ... which has high, four-legged stools...
  • ... while beyond that is a mixture of conventional tables with chairs...
  • ... and pallets wtih coffee sacks, plus lots more three-legged stools.
  • A view from the back of The Barn.
  • There are lots of neat features, including power outlets under the table at the back...
  • ... while at the front, there are these handy hooks, but no power...
  • ... although that's probably because The Barn doesn't allow laptops at the window-bars.
  • A table with retail bags of coffee greets you as you enter, with espresso one on side...
  • ... and filter on the other.
  • There's also coffee kit on shelves on the wall at the end of the counter.
  • There are various notices by the door, explaining The Barn's philosophy...
  • ... and, in German, its various offers.
  • There's even a map showing where the new roastery is in relation to this coffee shop.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • This was just inside the door. I wonder if it's a concrete sculpture of a coffee tamper?
  • Feel free to take a bottle of water from the end of the counter if you need one.
  • Talking of which, you order down the left-hand side of the counter.
  • The cakes are at the front, right on the corner...
  • ... while the espresso machine and its grinders are at the far end.
  • Meanwhile, the front of the counter is home to the pour-over set up and...
  • ... at the far end, the tea.
  • I went for pour-over, with the Radiophare, a naturally-processed coffee from Indonesia.
  • I think we've got everything. Let's make some coffee!
  • Step one. Rinse the V60 filter paper.
  • The coffee comes in pre-weighed doses, stored in these neat tins.
  • A few beans are sent through the EK43 grinder to clear out any residue...
  • ... then the rest of the dose is added.
  • Let's grind!
  • Impressive attention to detail: weighing the ground coffee to ensure the correct dose.
  • Once that's right, the ground coffee is added to the V60...
  • ... and it looks like we're ready to go.
  • There's the standard first pour, with just enough water to wet the grounds...
  • ... which allows the coffee to 'bloom' (that is, give off gases).
  • While the coffee is blooming, the serving carafe is warmed up...
  • ... and the cup placed on top to keep the heat in (and to warm the cup).
  • Now for the main pours. Techniques differ, but at The Barn, there is a series of pours...
  • ... each adding a small amount of water at a time.
  • That's the first pour done.
  • Now we wait.
  • There's about a 20 second gap between pours, and then the next one starts.
  • The pours themselves are fairly short, each one around 10 seconds long.
  • And wait.
  • The V60 is getting quite full now.
  • Time for the third and final pour.
  • And that's it. All the water has been added.
  • While we wait for the coffee to filter through, the serving carafe is prepared.
  • And we're done. About 45 seconds after the end of the final pour, the V60 comes off...
  • ... and the coffee is poured into the serving carafe...
  • ... with the last of the coffee going into the cup.
  • That's it. From the start of the first pour to the end of the brew was just 2½ minutes.
  • I'll leave you with my coffee, beautifully presented on a tray, the cup on the side.
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Although close to The Barn’s original Mitte coffee shop, the old roastery is in Prenzlauer Berg, near the southern end of Schönhauser Allee. On the right as you head north from its junction with Torstraße, The Barn occupies the left-hand part of the ground floor of a lovely old building, with seating outside on the broad pavement, although at the time of writing, the once-vacant lot next to The Barn is a construction site while a new building goes up.

The Barn has a broad façade, with three large, tall windows followed by the door at the left-hand end. Three low three-legged tables, each with three large three-legged stools, sit in front of the first two windows, while the third window, immediately to the right of the door, has a long bench and two of the low tables. Finally, there’s another low table, with just two stools this time, by the door.

Stepping inside, The Barn stretches out ahead of you and to the right in an L-shape, going back about as far as it is wide or perhaps even further. The counter, which is diagonally across from you, is also L-shaped, running almost to the right-hand wall, but extended back perhaps half the depth of The Barn. There’s limited seating to your right, with a series of window-bars in the three windows, home to three, four and five stools respectively. Note the “no laptops” rule if you want to sit here.

The bulk of the seating is straight ahead, although a large table, full of retail bags of coffee (espresso facing the door, filter on the other side), separates you from the seating. A bench runs along the left-hand wall, mirroring the counter, with two simple wooden tables, additional seating provided by the ubiquitous stools. The tables are matched by two more, between the wall and the counter. These are narrower, each with a pair of stools.

The rest of the seating is at the back, beyond the counter, starting with a tall communal table projecting at 90° from the wall, equipped with four tall, four-legged stools. The remaining seating is a mix of tables (two conventional round tables with three chairs each) and pallets topped with coffee sacks (four in all, seating again provided by the ubiquitous three-legged stools). These are arranged around the walls at the far end of The Barn.

You order down the left-hand side of the counter, where you’ll find the till between the cakes on the corner and the La Marzocco espresso machine at the far end. Meanwhile, the second part of the counter, which faces the windows, is home to the pour-over operation and, at the far end, the tea offering.

During my visit, a naturally-processed Huye Mountain from Rwanda was on espresso, while of the two choices for pour-over, I went for the Radiophare, a naturally-processed coffee from Indonesia. This was served in a carafe with a cup on the side, all presented on a neat wooden tray. A lovely, full-bodied coffee, it more than held its own as it cooled, evolving some subtle flavours which I really enjoyed.

In closing, I’d like to thank the friendly staff at Schönhauser Allee, who couldn’t do enough for me (an experience, in fairness, shared across all the coffee shops I visited in Berlin).


June 2022: I bought a bag of the Radiophare, which I gave as a gift to Lou, co-owner of Blooming Skull Coffee in Bebington.

SCHÖNHAUSER ALLEE 8 • 10119 BERLIN • GERMANY
https://thebarn.de
Monday 08:00 – 18:00 Roaster The Barn (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Window-Bar, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 18:00 Food Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 18:00 Service Counter
Friday 08:00 – 18:00 Payment Card Only
Saturday 10:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free
Sunday 10:00 – 18:00 Power Limited
Chain International Visits 14th May 2022

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5 thoughts on “The Barn Schönhauser Allee

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