Can you function without inhaling the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans? Whether it’s brewed on your kitchen stove or enjoyed with friends and colleagues at your local cafe or bakery, a piping hot cup of coffee is the perfect wake-up call to start the day. Here are the 10 best cafeterias located in the inner city barrios of Barcelona.
Many of these shops are not just cafeterias with owners that know good coffee. They also roast their own coffee and sell it directly to consumer or wholesale, or work with roasts with strict quality standards.
The list is also a testament to the cosmopolitan city’s ability to attract the best of the best, with contenders from all corners of the globe, as well as award-winning baristas born and bred in Catalonia. Trust me, this is a list you’re going to want to experience in person.
1. El Magnifico
Carrer de l’Argenteria, 64,
El Born 08003
Traditional. Classic. Maestros.
You may feel intimidated by the aura of confidence with which your coffee is made and served. The Italian grandmaster of coffee retains its hold as one of the best coffeehouses in Barcelona. Despite only making coffees for takeaway, the roasters and baristas of El Magnifico live up to their name.
Found in the backstreets of El Born, you may need to fight to order a coffee. There’s no space to sit down and those with a knack for elbow maneuvering may need to test their talent. But like all good things in life, it’s worth the wait. Appreciate the aroma, taste, and temperature of strong espressos or a smooth cappuccino. And don’t be fooled by their old-school look. They make and serve Aeropress, pour-over, filter as well as espresso-made coffees. Traditional coffees are served along innovative drinks at this prestigious location.
Roaster’s Home at Carrer de Pujades, 95 and the Cøffee Lab at Passatge Sert, 12
Is coffee-making an art or a science? I’m inclined to think both after watching the barista at Nomad craft my coffee in a finely-
wrought process. For hardcore aficionados of coffee, a visit to Nomad is a must. You’ll appreciate your cafe latte even more after seeing the dedication and skill involved in making it. Even for novices, it’s hard not to be impressed by the technical precision required to make coffee at this level.
Filter-brews are just one of Nomad’s specialties, served cold or hot. And if you can’t decide, just buy one of their bottles of cold brew or a bag of beans. The friendly owners are also keen to have a chat with patrons, learn about different cultures, and educate the curious about the technique of roasting and brewing a perfect cup of coffee. Owner Jordi Mestre won the National Barista Championship of Spain back to back, in 2012 and 2013.
It’s also a roaster and supplies to other cafeterias, brews its own coffee “beer” in specially branded Nomad cold coffee brew, and has a roasting showroom to demonstrate the process to the public. This is simply a must-see.
3. Onna Coffee
Carrer de Santa Teresa 1
This cafeteria is a hidden treasure in the lower end of Gracia, run by Anahi Paez. Here you’ll discover a cozy oasis where digital nomads, mothers and toddlers, and hipsters come to drink coffee and enjoy a slice of cake over bit of gossip. Enjoy the steaming shot of a rich and balanced espresso, a milder and milky cappuccino, or one of the newcomers to the menu, the moderate and smoother flat white.
The cafe boasts a Dalla Corte dc pro, Hario v60, Chemex and an Aeropress. In general, the cafe neither subscribes to the Barcelonian-trend of full-strength coffee nor the new fashion for subtlety but prefers a medium roast flavor.
This isn’t Anahi’s first venture, however. While still a teen, her passion for coffee was born early on and she opened a cafe in her native country of Costa Rica at just seventeen years of age. After migrating to Spain, she continued her dedication to Costa Rican coffee by opening Onna’s Cafe.
4. Skye Coffee
Carrer Pamplona 88
Poble Nou 08018
Make your way to Espacio 88, a converted warehouse that now serves as an open art and design area. Inside the multifunctional space you won’t have to ask where to find the cafe; just look for the vintage 1972 Citroen HY. You’ll quickly see that owner Skye Maunsell combined her quirky passion for antique motor cars and the coffee bean at this unique shop
Perfectly situated in the start-up hub of Poble Nou, Skye Coffee’s surroundings are a nod to the creative revolution taking over the barrio. The cafe’s clientele largely consists of local artists, students, and businesspeople.
But don’t be fooled. Skye’s Coffee is just as much about substance as it is about style. She sources her beans from Right Side Coffee (where Satan’s Coffee Corner – below – also orders from), but also from across the Atlantic such as Cafe Grumpy in New York and Workshop Coffee in London. Browse the menu for your favorite coffee and watch it being expertly made before appreciating the aroma and subtle flavor. All the standard coffees are found at Skye’s Coffee and don’t forget to ask about the latest new blends on offer.
She sources her beans from Right Side Coffee (where Satan’s Coffee Corner – below – also orders from), but also from across the Atlantic from roasters such as Cafe Grumpy in New York and Workshop Coffee in London. Browse the menu for your favorite coffee and watch it being expertly made before appreciating the aroma and subtle flavor. All the standard coffees are found at Skye’s Coffee and don’t forget to ask about the latest blends being offered.
5. Satan’s Coffee Corner
Carrer del Arc de San Ramon del Call 11, Barcelona.
It isn’t quite the hellhole you’d think. Instead, you’ll discover the heavenly aroma of freshly roasted beans being ground. Carefully curated magazines, record players, and plants adorn the meticulously designed space. Hipsters mix with the suits and enjoy the start to their day or a break mid-afternoon.
Originally tucked away in a gift shop and then a bicycle store, Satan’s Coffee Corner has now upgraded to a fully-fledged cafeteria in El Gotico. Pour over filter-brews, Aeropress coffee, and creamy lattes and cappuccinos are all on the menu. They serve lighter, milder flavored coffee in contrast to the normal full-strength brews many other cafes favor, but that’s not say it’s any less delicious.
Barista Marcos Bartolome is not quite the devil either. A young entrepreneur originally from the wine region La Rioja, he started off working at Federal Cafe where he became the manager. These days, he’s one of the leaders of the light roast movement in Barcelona. Yet, rather than roast their own beans, Satan’s partner with Right Side Coffee based in Castelldefels.
6. Federal Cafe
Passatge de la Pau 11
08002 El Barri Gotic
This local favorite is named after a small country town in rural Australia “somewhere between Possum Creek and Goonengerry” near Byron Bay, north of Sydney. Australian business partners Tommy Tang and Crick King were inspired to bring an Antipodean concept of the cafe to Spain.
The cafe features great lighting, plenty of space, and a fresh ambience inspired by the rural areas and perennial sunshine on the east coast of Australia. Federal not only serve excellent coffee but noteworthy brunches for late risers. And in party central Barcelona, there’s no shortage of those. Relax in the calming atmosphere of the interior, where the natural light pours in. Take a newspaper or your laptop on a Sunday. If you’re on the road and can’t bear to not have your daily dose, be assured that there are also branches in Girona, Valencia and Madrid.
7. Tostaderas Bon Mercat
Baixada Llibreteria, 1-3
Bon Mercat is another hideaway in Gotico where a mere two tables are considered prime real estate. Most aficionatos stop by for a quick cup to go on their way to work. Despite the usually long line, the staff are quick and skilled, and you’ll be enjoying incredible coffee in no time.
If you’re feeling adventurous or prefer a specific type of coffee, ask the baristas if he has something to suit your preferences. There’s no pretense about this place; while knowledgeable and professional, you’ll be served with kindness and patience.
Carrer de Luis Antúnez, 18, Gràcia
Another gem in Gracia, SlowMov ensures every one of their business practices is ecologically sound. Founder Carmen Callizo learned her trade at Coutume Cafe in Paris where she still sources some of her coffee. She sources her food from local sellers who are also dedicated to a green business.Open-plan, the roastery is combined with the cafeteria to encourage interaction between staff and the clients. Specialities include the double espresso made from the Kees van der Western Mirage Espresso Machine or an Aeropressed cortado.
Open and inviting, the roastery is combined with the cafeteria to encourage interaction between staff. Specialties include the Double Espresso made from the Kees van der Western Mirage Espresso Machine or an Aeropressed Cortado.
Apart from the high-quality coffee, patrons relish the atmosphere of drinking a coffee in a friend’s kitchen. Perhaps this is because the space is Callizo’s grandfather’s old workshop. If you’re after a more personal experience or just want to support ecological coffee production, try SlowMov.
Mare de Déu dels Desemparats, 13
There is something about Gracia that attracts boutique cafes and time-honored traditions such as coffee roasting. The neighborhood of artisans and foodies is also home to fiercely loyal stalwarts of local business. In contrast to most of the other entries, Nelson started off as a roaster – and still is one – but has recently expanded into a full service cafe.
The coffee is fantastic, sourced from the finest coffee-producing nations in the world: Ethiopia, Brazil, Nicaragua, Kenya and Colombia. Despite the tiny interior, customers frequent Nelson for the warm service and community atmosphere.
10. True Artisan
Passatge Sant Benet 69,
El Born, 08003
Around the corner from the Arc de Triomf you’ll discover True Artisan. A new concept for Barcelona, it’s neither a roaster nor a cafeteria. Instead, True Artisan combines different elements of coffee culture. It’s part cafeteria, part co-working space, and part showroom for La Marzocco, the Italian espresso machine brand.
Long wooden tables, a mishmash of chairs, and a vintage couch accent the rustic decor. Students and digital nomads are drawn to the open layout and free Wi-Fi, as well as the availability of top shelf quality coffee.
True Artisan hosts workshops on how to use Aeropresses, the importance of water in making coffee, and events to promote local roasters. Take the time to unwind and kick back at True Artisan. Sample the various blends and savor the standard favorites made on the La Marzocco machines.