Dubai Coffee: Welcome Barn Berlin

Imagine my surprise when I heard a few weeks back that the famous Barn Berlin, Best Independent Coffee Shop in Europe 2018″ AND “Best Specialty Coffee Roaster in Europe & Middle East 2019″were opening their first international outlet not in another major city in Europe, but all the way in the Middle East, in Dubai. I was on the one hand a bit surprised but I was thinking ….. perhaps when Ralf visited Dubai he was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the coffee culture in Dubai and thought “hey! I need to share my coffee philosophy in this city. 🤔”

I never got the time to ask him why but I was honoured that upon their opening in mid October, Ralf was there not just to welcome me and my friends but also to make one of their special coffees on the V60 – lucky me.

Hario V60

Set in a very European setting I have to say, Barn Berlin Dubai is located in Kazzan Park, opposite the glitzy City Walk. Yes, across the road there are lights representing the essence of Dubai but there’s a calming ambience in the park that hosts Barn Berlin Dubai.

The shop itself is quite small – again typical of a quintessence European coffee shop and as you enter on the right you are greeted with the Brew Bar, which houses a La Marzocco 2 group linea espresso machine and a set of Hario V60s at the ready

Let the brewing begin

As you look to your left there’s an open view bakery kitchen, where recipes from Barn Berlin and Ralf’s family bake on site German style pastries and cakes. So what you might miss from the roastery has definitely been made up with a live German bakery kitchen…..

On display across the cafe are bags of coffee “roasted in Berlin” and you have a pick from filter, espresso and highly prized filter based coffee – yes, think Hacidenda Esmeralda from the famed Panamanian coffee estate and Anaberoic fermented Yemeni coffee – yes they may cost a bit more than your average coffee but trust me Dubai’s coffee hunters buy them as soon as they arrive from Berlin.

I’ve already been twice since they opened – first to be served coffee by Ralf and second with my wife, who loved the tea (yes, she doesn’t usually take coffee, but she liked the German style carrot cake).

Almond and chocolate oder carrot cake?

As the weather gets cooler by Dubai standards (25C is great trust me), it’s a great place to have coffee in the park – there’s a lot more seating in the park and outside the shop than inside. You can sip great roasted coffee, eat German recipe treats and look at the tallest building in the World – now how’s that for the DRINK OF THE ESCAPIST.

For more info see https://thebarn.de/pages/the-barn-dubai

I was @ Brew Cafe, Dubai

It should no longer come as a surprise to you that whenever I get the opportunity to stop over in Dubai, I take it. So on the last occasion, my plan was to try another cafe that I had never been to. Calling my newly converted “to specialty coffee” friends in Dubai one afternoon and enquiring what they were up to, they mentioned that they wanted to try a new cafe out in Dubai and what do you know, coincidentally, praise God – it was one I had never been to – Brew Cafe, located in Jumeirah Road, Umm Suqeim 2. As I wasn’t that far away, another friend drop me by.

Upon entering I did my coffee geek thing – scout the cafe and ask the staff about the coffee on offer. In summary, they have an uber boiler and a special gadget, never seen before, for preparing filter coffee, a typical Swedish style glass counter, displaying some sweet treats and sandwiches. As you enter, there are some high chairs to your left and some lower seating on the right together with red tiled topped tables. Closer to the window on the left, where we sat, they have a low table with some chairs. To the far left near the brew counter, they have a shelf selling coffees and brewing gadgets. The pay point has a back drop of their logo.

However, the main scene stealer for me was the Kees van der Westen spirit two group coffee machine, which I haven’t seen for a while. A very fine looking machine that promises to deliver;

So, off to the coffee then. They have some unusual coffee menu items for the untrained eye, like the nitro (never tried) and the magic (I used to serve this at Escape in cape town but in summary it hails from Melbourne and mine was a triple shot cortado). I settled for a piccolo, knowing that later I couldn’t resist a filter brew.

On coffees, they have a strong bias for Barn Berlin – one of Berlin’s finest coffee roasters, offering for both espresso and filter brew, but I was wondering why they haven’t been loyal to the up and coming local coffee roasteries. However, I spotted a coffee bag from newly crowned world coffee roaster of the year Gardelli – a bag from Uganda – the Mzungu coffee project. Initially the barista, John, wanted to make this for me but when I went for it, he informed that there wasn’t enough to make my chemex, crying out loud. For my second brew, I chose a Costa Rican coffee, roasted by Barn Berlin. I shared some with my friends so that they could sample filter coffee not just from one of the consistently good coffee producing nations on earth, but more importantly to introduce their taste buds to a new way of tasting and drinking coffee.

Before I left I bought a bag of Barn Berlin Costa Rican Vulcan Azul coffee to take back to Vienna – perhaps I should have felt guilty from an environmental perspective – buying German roasted coffee, shipped to Dubai and then shipped back to Germany’s neighbour, Austria. Sorry!

In summary, another good Dubai coffee experience at a no frills place that might need more staff when it gets a bit busy. Nevertheless you are guaranteed some good coffee and if you have space, some sweet treats too.

%d bloggers like this: