There are a lot of great reasons to visit Barcelona—but not necessarily for coffee, until now.
In a city known for its unique food, edgy art, and independent style, the specialty coffee scene seems strangely underwhelming, and certainly light years behind the thriving scenes in other European culture capitals like Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam. Fortunately, the specialty coffee movement in Barcelona is about to take a big step forward, as some of the city’s dynamic new roasters and cafes prepare for the Catalan capital’s first Independent Barcelona Coffee Festival this weekend.
The first of its kind in Barcelona, the festival is the product of a collaboration between several of the city’s best specialty coffee roasters: Nømad Coffee, Right Side Coffee, Satan's Coffee Corner, and Skye Coffee Co. The roaster group has teamed up with “All Those”, a local platform that promotes specialty foods in the city, to share their passion for their craft with coffee aficiionados and the coffee curious alike.
“Three years ago it was almost impossible to find a decent coffee in Barcelona,” says Viqui Sanglas, co-founder of of All Those. “And now, we’ve even edited a map with more than 20 places serving specialty coffee in the city. We are still in our initial stages, but everything is happening very fast.”
“People are reluctant to try other ways of brewing coffee, and that is what’s holding the city back from becoming a major coffee capital,” Sanglas adds. “However, it is a matter of time, and we think that Barcelona coffee scene will explode sooner than later.”
Perhaps as soon as this weekend? Over the span of two days, the city will be “inundated with coffee” as the festival takes place in various cafes, roasters and other gastronomic spaces throughout Barcelona. Starting on Friday, May 6, more than 20 cafes throughout Barcelona will open their doors to the public to host film screenings, coffee tastings and lectures. Major highlights of the first day will be the presentation of a city wide specialty coffee map, and the opening of Nømad Coffee’s new location in l’Obrador, a gastronomic co-working space in the rapidly gentrifying Raval neighborhood.
Local favorites like Oma Bistro, Syra Coffee, Cafés El Magnifico and True Artisan Café will also take part in the festivities. Festivities continue on Saturday, May 7, when activities will be centered in the home of Skye Coffee at Espacio 88, a coworking and event space located in the industrial/artsy neighborhood of Poblenou. The second day will focus on educating visitors about coffee through activities that include scheduled talks, cuppings, and an interactive space for testing out the latest in espresso machines and coffee gadgets. Day 2 also boasts the Spanish AeroPress championships, the winner of which will go on to the World Aeropress Championship tournament in Dublin this June.
While Barcelona’s coffee prowess might still have something to prove, its capacity to throw a good party is well-established. In classic Barcelona style, the festival will close with a party hosted by La Marzocco at Garage Beer Co, who is brewing up a special beer, serving coffee based cocktails, and featuring live music for the occasion.
This event is like a snapshot of a culture on the grow, in a city with a coffee scene that's ready to boom. Plus the festival is refreshingly grassroots, independently organized away by a bunch of cool like-minded coffee companies, and best of all, admission is totally free. As if you needed another reason to visit beautiful Barcelona!
Sara Mason is founder of SHIFT Social Impact Solutions, and a freelance writer based in Barcelona. This is Sara Mason's first feature for Sprudge.