On June 7th, 2014, Sprudge.com and our friends and partners at Cafe Imports teamed up for a public cupping party in the city of Berlin. This was our eight public cupping party event, and our first in Europe; previous engagements have included at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco (with Blue Bottle Coffee), Magic Johnston in Melbourne (with Everyday Coffee), Merchandise Mart in Chicago (with Intelligentsia Coffee), and the Cafe Imports HQ in Minneapolis, to name just a few.
For Berlin, the event was hosted by the capable and gracious staff of The Barn, an international coffee roaster and retail shop based in the Mitte neighborhood. The Barn kindly allowed us to rearrange tables and furniture, and also to set up for a sound system. This is particularly notable because The Barn is one of the few retail coffee bars on earth that does not have a soundtrack playing during service; our DJ set in The Barn helped transform the space into an after-hours coffee party scene, aided greatly by good beer from Heidenpeters.
In cooperation with Cafe Imports, whose European offices are based in Berlin and helmed by Gabriel Dunn, we were able to field a cupping table with diverse and delicious coffees from across Europe, from Bucharest to Berlin, Essex to Athens. The cupping itself was facilitated by staff from The Barn and also Cafe Imports, who rolled through with additional folks from the United States en route to the World Barista Championship the following week in Rimini, Italy. Here’s a complete list of what we cupped at the party:
Five Elephant -- Ethiopia Aricha, Ethiopia Bifdu Gudina -- Berlin
Climpson & Sons -- Colombia Narino, Kenya Kiangoi -- London
The Barn -- Ethiopia Kochere, Ethiopia Suke Quto -- Berlin
Mind The Cup -- Colombia El Mirador, Ethiopia Wote, Peru Cajamacra -- Athens
Alchemy -- Sulawesi Toraja -- London
Coffee Proficiency -- Colombia Narino, Rwanda Rulindo -- Krakow
The Coffee Officina -- Guatemala Finca La Bolsa, Ethiopia Kochere -- Essex
Belleville Brulerie -- Sulawesi Toraja, Colombia Jose Alirio Pinzon -- Paris
Bonanza -- Ethiopia Aychesh Gelana Abaya, Colombia Huila Palestina -- Berlin
Music for this cupping drew from Berlin’s strong history as a hub for international performers and recording artists, with a focus on music recorded at the famed Hansa Tonstudio. And while much of the best-known Krautrock music from the 1960’s and 70’s originated outside of Berlin, it was too delicious not to play songs from groups like Can (from Cologne) and Faust (from Wümme) to a roomful of cupping Germans. (And Australians, and Brits, and Swedes, and Americans…)
Here’s a selection from the DJ booth:
Fela Kuti Live at the Berlin Jazz Festival 1979 -- "Mistake"
Faust -- "Jennifer"
Can -- "All Gates Open"
David Bowie -- "Sound And Vision"
Iggy Pop -- "Some Weird Sin"
Neu! -- "Isi"
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds -- "Sad Waters"
David Bowie -- "TVC 15"
Big Country -- "In A Big Country"
It was, in retrospect, a perfectly Berlin sort of cupping party: some folks arrived on time, others quite a bit later; some folks stayed and relaxed through the evening, others popped in early and then had to move on. There was an ebb and flow to the night, so different from the sharp start and quick stop to similar parties we’ve thrown in North America and Australia. Nobody in Berlin seemed particularly in a rush, and folks could leisurely take multiple passes through the cupping table at their own pace. The sun went down; the music turned, inevitably, to Outkast slow jams and lost Northern Soul classics; the beer kept flowing, and all was right in the world.
Thank you to our friends and partners at Cafe Imports, our courteous hosts at The Barn, and the Berlin coffee scene for joining us. Berlin, you hedonistic, shaggily beautiful beast, we’ll be back.