Extremely hot and dry summers with cold, wet winters, Seville, the largest urban area in Southern Spain, is a city of extremes. Any shop claiming to serve good coffee in this part of the world needs to be equally adept at preparing cold brews and warm lattes. Cafes should be warm and cozy in the colder months, but also bright and fresh in the summer heat. This is a brief guide to some of the places attempting to serve the best cup of specialty coffee in one of the most historic cities on the Iberian Peninsula. Each does so in its own way, on its own terms.
Torch Coffee Roasters
Sisters Sara and Victoria Parish co-own Torch Coffee Seville, part of an international franchise focused on sustainable production and coffee education in Asia.
Strategically located next to the Guadalquivir River and to some of the most grandiose landmarks in all of Spain—the Alcázar complex, La Maestranza bullring and the Star Wars-featured Plaza de España—Torch is the logical stop after a big day of sightseeing.
The cafe looks more Scandinavian than Andalusian, which seems to work perfectly fine considering the healthy number of international patrons here. It is spacious, bright, and quiet—you could spend a whole day here if you wished to. There are simple and delicious breakfast, lunch, and pastry options.
Guatemalan coffee is the main offering by the Parish sisters, who source directly from origin and roast on site. More unique beans such as a Chinese Yunnan are sometimes also available. The cold-brew extract is nicely packaged and strong enough to discourage any siesta time.
Virgin Coffee Sevilla
How do you provide customers with shade in this sunny city if you lack space and resources? Leveraging on the surroundings and use the peculiar aesthetics of one of the city’s main landmarks, the Metropol Parasol.
Virgin Coffee is a takeaway coffee bar located at Plaza de la Encarnación, famous for its mushroom-shaped, waffle-like architectural behemoth that provides much-needed reprieve from the scorching sun.
Run by its owner Pedro Sierra Pradas as a one-man operation, Virgin Cafe serves glorious flat whites and americanos from seasonal coffee beans roasted on-site with a 1kg Gene machine as well as varieties from Spanish specialty roasters.
This is great option for a quick fix in the city center.
If you are spending more time in the city–or if you happen to be in the vicinity of the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán football stadium—drop into Lalita Café for a good opportunity to try excellent Spanish pastries with specialty coffee.
Owner Carlos Fernández Zarapico and his wife had a background in hospitality and as a pastry chef, respectively. They first decided to open their own cake shop, which eventually morphed into the current form of Lalita Café.
They use beans from a variety of Spanish roasters such as Hola Coffee, Puchero, Nomad, Cafés San Jorge, and Ineffable Coffee Roasters. Cakes and pastries are made in house and there are cocktails available after four in the afternoon.
Mr Chava Cafetería
When you talk to local baristas and roasters in Andalusia, there is one name that usually comes to the fore: Mister Chava. An almost mythical figure in the Spanish specialty coffee scene, the full name of this barista, roaster, instructor, and competition judge is Antonio Manuel Chavarría Rosa.
Chavarria has been in the coffee world for more than a decade and a half, but he truly began his specialty coffee journey about 10 years ago during a visit to Colombia. He says he was amazed by the smells and flavors found in fresh coffee, something lacking in Spanish cafes.
He then took part in national Forum and SCAE barista competitions, with excellent results. This moved him to start proper specialty coffee operations and—for about five years now—roast his own beans in a five-kilo Toper machine.
Mister Chava’s headquarters is located in the town of Osuna, some 90 kilometers east of Sevilla, but still in the same province and near the highway that connects with Granada. It probably defies the expectations of what a specialty coffee cafe should look like. It is more of a traditional Spanish bar, with patrons varying in ages and walks of life, mainly health professionals working in a hospital opposite the cafe.
Chavarría only opens from 7:30am until 12:30pm, Monday to Saturday. He serves menu items like café con leche—kind of a flat white—and adds small surcharges for things like sugar and extra shots. So while you’ll definitely have to ditch the jargon when you visit Mister Chava in Osuna, rest assured that you are in good hands and that the final result will be as satisfying as you can get in Spain.
Jaime San Martin is a freelance journalist. Read more Jaime San Martin for Sprudge.
Image of “La Seta” structure, Virgin Coffee images, and Torch Coffee images by Jaime San Martin.
Lalita Coffee images courtesy of Lalita Coffee.
Mr Chava Cafeteria images courtesy of Mr Chava.