Whether you’re in town for a short trip, or planning a longer stay, sometimes it’s difficult to feel at home until it’s been found: the perfect cup of coffee.
All countries differ in their preferred way of drinking their buzzing pick-me-up, and Spanish coffee does have it’s own unique style and flavour. Barcelona is no exception, and real coffee enthusiasts may find that the typical brew of their local bar leaves them wanting.
It can be argued that the espresso in Italy and France is more well-rounded and embodied, whilst the Spanish equivalent, the cafe solo, can seem slightly dry and less textured to the foreigner’s palate. Never fear, because in recent years, a steady crop of trendy, artisanal coffee bars has been sprouting throughout Barcelona. Here’s your guide to the coffee scene in Barcelona: the basics to be found at every corner bar, and our recommendations for the more discerning coffee drinkers among you.
Cafe solo is the equivalent of the espresso, a single shot of coffee, served in an espresso cup. If you’re feeling the need for a real caffeine hit, a double espresso is a Cafe solo doble, or simply “un doble”.
If you like your shot of coffee more mellow, something along the lines of the Italian macchiato, or in the States, the Gibraltar, then go for the cortado – a shot of strong espresso, topped with a little bit of steamed milk.
Cafe con leche is probably Barcelona’s most consumed coffee drink. Guzzled most often at breakfast time, Cafe con leche, (literally, coffee with milk) as the name suggests, is most similar to the American cafe latte.
Typical in Barcelona, and a great treat on a hot Catalan afternoon, is the cafe con hielo: an espresso shot poured over a whiskey glass of ice cubes.
For the enthusiasts
Those who know their Arabicas from their Robustas, and their medium roast from their dark, will be pleased to explore the recent trend in Barcelona toward quality, artisanal coffee stores. Here are some of our tried and tested favourites:
Hailed by many as the best coffee in Barcelona, this trendy coffee window was founded by young barista Marcos, who personally chooses and creates his own blends each month from two specially selected origins. (Carrer de l’Arc de Sant Ramon del Call, 11)
Located a stone’s throw from the Mercat de Sant Antoni, Federal Cafe is an Australian haven in the middle of Barcelona. Bringing the highly fine-tuned palate of Australian baristas to Spain, locals and expats alike have fallen for their lovingly crafted flat whites, cappuccinos, and all-day breakfasts. (Carrer del Parlament, 39)
Cafés El Magnifico
Coffee enthusiasts will love Cafés El Magnifico. El Magnifico, where you can buy beans and blends from the world over, have their own on-site roastery, as well as offering the perfect cup of coffee in-house. There’s also a tasting area, where you can sample blends from all over the world. (Carrer de l’Argenteria, 64)
If you’re on the move throughout the city and looking for a reliable source of quality caffeine, keep an eye out for Central Cafe, which has locations popping up all over Barcelona. Offering their trademark blend of coffees from five origins, Central Cafe has been converting locals to artisanal coffees since 1997. (Various locations, eg.Carrer del Dr. Fleming, 19)