As we wrote in part one, specialty coffee has really taken off in Barcelona, after a long period of limited options and mediocre to bad beans and roasts. Here are a few more of our favorites among the new generation of coffee shops:
True Artisan Café
Elisabet Sereno, a Barcelonan nutritionist, coffee specialist, a founder of the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) and a judge in the World Barista Championship, opened this coffee shop in 2014. It was created as a showroom and also serves an educational role in improving specialty coffee culture in Barcelona and Spain by organizing events, demos and tastings. True Artisan is an official La Marzocco espresso coffee machine distributor showroom, an SCAE-certified training center and a comfortable bar to while away an afternoon diving into Arabica aromas, latte art, cups, gadgets and machines.
The café rotates its coffee selection every month, putting the spotlight on numerous growers, roasters and importers. It’s the perfect way to keep your palate in good shape. The best way to enjoy those beans is through one of the espresso drinks pulled on the La Marzocco, such as a flat white or cappuccino. Keep an eye out for interesting variations like the mocha with ginger. The menu is long and very thorough for both hot and cold coffees; we bet you’ll find your favorite classic coffee here. Besides coffee, there’s also tea, chocolate, artisan beer and a great breakfast combo that comes with coffee or tea and a sweet or snack.
Address: Passatge de Sant Benet 6, San Pere-Santa Caterina-El Born
Hours: Tues.-Fri. 9am-6pm; Sat. 10am-7pm; Sun. noon-8pm
Slice of Life Coffee Bar
There are two branches of this coffee shop, one in lower Born (in La Ribera, not far from the Picasso Museum) and a bigger space with tables on Gran Vía (L’Eixample), where the coffee is complemented by wonderful homemade cookies and cakes. Slice of Life was founded by Konstantin Voevodkin, a Russian coffee specialist and a founder of SCAE in Russia. In the little bar on Carrer Assaonadors, the coffee selection and service are in the hands of Jan-Fredrik Winter, an accomplished barista from Iceland.
Slice of Life works with Catalan roasters Right Side of Coffee and also directly with producers. The staff loves to explain everything you need to know about what’s in your cup. Don’t miss some of their unusual offerings, such as the Raf Coffee, a Russian recipe of creamy espresso with milk and vanilla sugar infused with lavender, or their new Stout, one of our favorites here, a cold foamy coffee with soda, filtered in a V60 range server, then cooled down and served with a touch of soda. It’s vibrant and fun, perfect as a refreshing summer drink and looks exactly like a stout beer – minus the alcohol, plus the caffeine.
Born-La Ribera location: Carrer Assaonadors 19
L’Eixample location: Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes 501
Having opened just this year in Gràcia, this place is all about the Slow Life movement – doing things the artisanal, small-scale way – and it organizes events and provides a space for local producers to highlight the process, quality and time it takes to make truly excellent food and drink. At Slow Mov, Carmen (Catalan) and François (French) roast excellent specialty coffee in their brand-new roaster, nicknamed “the Locomotive,” for customers to buy and make at home or purchase brewed in-house (filtered or espresso) to take away or enjoy at their leisure in the shop.
Carmen learned in Paris how to make the best filtered, espresso and cold-brew coffees with the best selection of Arabicas from the French coffee connoisseur Antoine Nétien and his brand Coutume. On a personal trip to Ireland, Carmen found the Slow Life movement, started a blog with a friend about that philosophy and now, back at home in Barcelona, she’s combined that philosophy with her passion for coffee to open this great little coffee shop.
Address: Carrer de Luis Antúnez 18, Gràcia
Hours: Tues.-Fri. 10am-8pm; Sun. 10am-8pm
We would be remiss to not mention the few roasters and coffee companies that have been producing excellent 100 percent Arabica and premium coffees all along in this town. In fact, we’d like to give a shout out to the old guard, all of which are still worth a visit:
Cafés El Magnífico
Address: Carrer Argentería 64, Born-La Ribera
Telephone: +34 93 319 3975
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10am-8pm
Address: Carrer Xuclá 25, El Raval
Telephone: +34 93 317 3438
Hours: 9am-2pm & 5-8pm
Tostaderos Bon Mercat
Address: Carrer Llibretería 1-3, Barrio Gótico
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 8am-8pm
Look for cafés with Saula’s distinctive golden yellow tins sitting atop coffee grinding machines.