• Demystifying the coffee value chain,  The Bean

    The nomads with a mission to put specialty on the mediterranean coffee map

    Jordi Mestre’s journey into specialty coffee began on a wet and windy day on the streets of London’s East End with a cup of coffee that changed his life. Lovingly brewed out of the back of a coffee cart in Whitechapel the founder of Barcelona-based coffee company, Nomad, recalls how he tasted one of the most memorable coffees he had ever had: “It was a cold, rainy, early morning. I had everything against me to enjoy this coffee and despite the conditions, the coffee was the most amazing I had ever tried”. Inspired by that singular sensory moment, Jordi’s one-month stint to learn English in the capital turned into a…

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  • A Field Guide to Coffee Bars in Barcelona,  Spain

    A Pilgrim’s Refuge

    Caelum Location: Carrer de la Palla, 8 Beans on the menu: Café Mochy Mezcla Caffeine delivery method: Cortado Crutch compatibility: 2/5 stars. Negotiating the steep stairs to the basement could prove fatal for the crutch-enabled crusader (there are street-level vestibules available for the less inclined) Hit to the wallet: €4,55 Music playing: Stevie Wonder (and friends) Website: www.caelumbarcelona.com Architecture aside, one of the most striking features of Barcelona is the prodigious amount of tapas bars and cafes. So finding good, distinctive coffee bars in a caffeinated city of this magnitude is a bit like trying to find a needle in a pile of proverbial needles. There are so many, they…

  • A Field Guide to Coffee Bars in Barcelona,  Spain,  The Bean

    A Shining Light for Generations of Coffee Lovers

    Cafés El Magnífico Location: Carrer de l’Argenteria Beans on the Menu: More than forty different varieties and blends worldwide to suit the most discerning of palettes plus a wide variety of speciality tea Crutch Compatibility: Sins muletas, con cojera (without crutches, with limp) Caffeine delivery method: Freshly roasted Tunki filter coffee. Also purchased: 250g Espresso Virtuoso Mezcla (Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia, India), 250g Ethiopian Harrar Boldgrain Hit to the wallet: €10,50 Music Playing: No jukebox required Website: www.cafeselmagnifico.com Señor Salvador Sans is a fast-talking Catalan who is serious about coffee. You could say that it runs through the veins. Well it certainly has been running in the bloodline for generations since…

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  • A Field Guide to Coffee Bars in Barcelona,  Spain

    A Small Corner of Coffee Heaven

    Mesón del Café Location: Carrer de Libretería Crutch compatibility: 4/5 stars (the liberal sprinkling of sawdust on the ceramic floor provides ample traction for the crutch-enabled coffee enthusiast) Beans on the Menu: To quote: “‘Top Secret’ South American Mezcla” Caffeine delivery method: Cortado, (glass of Catalan Mescaro, no ice), cafe con leche Hit to the wallet: €9 (and worth every eurozone bean) Music playing: Radio Catalunya Steadfastly resisting the contagion of brash souvenir shops that appear to be advancing from both sides, the Mesón del Café (Coffee Inn) evidently has its roots planted firmly in Catalan soil; and isn’t budging. Walk a few yards from the grandiose Plaça Sant Jaume…

  • A Field Guide to Coffee Bars in Barcelona,  Spain

    A Field Guide to Coffee Bars in Barcelona

    Nursing a chronically sprained ankle whilst periodically pounding the streets of Barcelona on a pair of standard-issue crutches does have has its own advantages. Although not an exhaustive list, here are just some of the reasons why: The polite (but not forgotten) tradition of having doors opened for you at the threshold of establishments is revived with gusto You get your own personal ‘shopping assistant’ who will offer to carry your basket for you in supermarkets (most of the time) Your faith in the spirit of human solidarity is restored… between other people on crutches Motorists slow down – or even stop – as you cross the street You have…

  • Spain

    The Dark Side of Barcelona (parte dos)

    I wonder what Don Quixote would have made of Barcelona in 21st century Catalunya. Would he have tilted at wind turbines? Or jousted with Gaudi’s larger-than-life lizards? Maybe, the Man from La Mancha, and his faithful sidekick Sancho Panza, would have shored up the city’s defenses with a two-man bulwark in an effort to repel the chaotic crowds that surge up Las Ramblas, believing them to be the advancing enemy? And, as for a ‘plague’ of thieves and villains, what would have the knight errant resorted to in his chivalrous bid to rid the world of evil-doers and scoundrels? All said and done, only the late – and great –…