In opening pages of Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen’s The New Rules of Coffee, the cofounders of Sprudge write, “Drinking coffee is one of the most global things you do each day.”
The coffee plant, though exceptionally finicky and difficult to work with, grows across four continents, in at least 70 countries. After farming, harvesting and processing the bean, which is really a fruit, it’s bagged and sent to roasters around the world.
Still in their more natural greenish-grey hue, these beans arrive to roasters who take the seed of a cherry and turn it into one of the most-consumed beverages in the world. All carrying the official designation of specialty coffee roaster, the best of these roasters bring out of the bean few others can, and push coffee further for it.
Hailing from traditional coffee nations like Italy, New Zealand and Spain and the coffee world’s newer frontiers like Japan, South Korea and the UK, these are the places where the best bags of coffee are made.
The Barn’s MO is fairly simple: source, roast and brew stupidly good coffee. Its dedication building bridges between the holy trinity of coffee is where it shines. Ralf Rüller’s four cafés and roastery are monuments to this.
The first step is acquiring the best beans possible; this means beans that they are of the highest quality (The Barn regularly sources from farms and farmers that have won the incredibly scrutinous Cup of Excellence) and are grown using sustainable methods. The Barn also pays high prices for premium beans, which sounds like an obvious thing to do, but is rather rare in the coffee world at large (specialty coffee’s battle with the commodity coffee market is telling of this). It also “slow roasts” the beans it purveys, a practice that results in a bean that’s lightly roasted and carries as much of the bean’s terroir as possible.
Unlike most roasters and coffee makers, The Barn even goes as far as training its baristas in the vocabulary and methods of roasting as a means to better communicate with the roasting team. There’s a reason every interview Rüller has ever given contains at least one use of the word “uncompromising.”