Coffee Bar Owner Sparks Row by Banning Prams

The Barn – Roastery Berlin

The Barn – Roastery Berlin – Image Facebook

Ralf Rüller installs stone bollard to keep prams out of cafe in Berlin.

Ralf Rüller wanted to create a sacred ground for coffee connoisseurs in the heart of Berlin, somewhere devotees of the bean could sip their brews free from distraction.

This purist – not to say militant – approach to coffee-drinking extended to a long list of rules at his brew bar, the Barn Roastery, including a ban on extra milk, spoons, laptops, dogs, mobile phone ringtones, loud phone calls and “media” (apart from newspapers). Sugar is strongly discouraged. But the rule that has provoked the most heated reaction is Rüller’s decision to prohibit pushchairs and prams.

“Coffee Nazis, choke on this swill” and “totalitarian coffee regime” are just two of the many messages of protest Rüller received after he installed a stone bollard – complete with a picture of a pram with a red line through it – in the doorway of his coffeehouse in the northern Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg. (The bollard is moved for wheelchairs.)

Marianne Burket-Eulitz, a family policy expert for the Green party, called Rüller’s attempts to keep prams out “a socially incorrect affront to families”.

But the former actor-turned-barista is unapologetic, upset only that his brews – which are prepared with the delicacy and attention worthy of a Japanese tea ceremony – are not receiving the attention he believes they deserve.

“People should listen to their senses when they drink a cup of coffee. Just as we take care of the coffee bean from crop to cup, we also take care of the people who come in here to drink it,” he argues, pointing to customers chatting, reading newspapers or gazing at the goings-on on the bustling Schönhauser Allee.

Rüller’s young team demonstrate the brewing process to customers, measuring temperatures, weights, checking aromas, “taming” froth, and timing to a second the silky brown creations magicked out of vacuum presses and syphons.

The staff, who come from as far afield as Australia and Mexico, include Rob MacDonald, a dairy farmer from Australia who claims his tastebuds are so refined he can tell what a cow has eaten from the flavour of its milk. “I love this artistic approach to coffee,” says the 27-year-old, who as well as training to be a barista is – perhaps inevitably – learning to play the jazz xylophone.

(Via The Guardian)

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