Spain

Like a Local: The Best Coffee Shops in Barcelona

by Jessica Bowler  |  Published December 4, 2016

It can be hard to find a truly bad cup of coffee in Barcelona. But until recently, there wasn’t much in the way of specialty coffees in the Catalan capital. That’s all changing thanks to the emergence of a new café scene that fits in perfectly alongside the city’s longtime classics.

Nømad Cøffee, founded by the two-time barista champion of Spain (Photo: Alper Çuğun via Flickr)

Nømad Cøffee, founded by the two-time barista champion of Spain (Photo: Alper Çuğun via Flickr)

Café con leche, cortado, a carajillo con Baileys if you’re feeling cheeky – Spanish coffee offers a whole world of delicious possibilities to discover. And there are few places better to begin your voyage into this wonderful world than in Barcelona, a city that blends cosmopolitan and traditional effortlessly and invites explorers both new and experienced in the ways of coffee to come in and take a sip.

Nømad Coffee Lab & Shop

Founded by the two-time barista champion of all of Spain, it’s no surprise that Nømad Cøffee has some of the most highly recommended coffee in Barcelona – though it actually originated in London, where founder Jordi Mestre started it as a coffee cart. He brought his expert approach to a permanent location in Barcelona’s stylish Born district. Tucked away in a nearly hidden passageway, he ensures everything here is of the highest quality, from the beans to the coffee machines to the design elements of the café.

Passatge Sert, 12

Cosmo and Cometa

These two sister cafés do a fantastic job of combining art and excellent coffees. Similar but not identical, both feature ever-rotating galleries of art from local artists. Cosmo is the bigger of the two locations and boasts a large wall where artists come and paint pieces that stay up for a few weeks or months. Then it all gets painted over in white and the next creative soul comes in to add their touch to the now-blank canvas. On top of coffee, they also serve teas, juices and light lunches and snacks.

Enric Granados, 3 (Cosmo)

Carrer del Parlament, 20 (Cometa)

Federal Café

One of the first chic coffee shops on the now-trendy Parlament Street, Federal Café was also one of the forerunners on the city’s brunch scene. While it’s no longer the new kid around, its brunches are still some of the tastiest in town. Spread out over three light and airy floors, with a smattering of communal tables and even an outdoor terrace on the top level, competition can be stiff to snag a seat here. But good things come to those who wait, and at Federal they come in the form of perfect flat whites and mouthwatering sandwiches and cakes.

Carrer del Parlament, 39

Some of the day's sweet treats at Caelum (Photo: Tim Venchus via Flickr)

Some of the day’s sweet treats at Caelum (Photo: Tim Venchus via Flickr)

Caelum

It may sound like an exaggeration to say a place makes you feel like you’ve travelled back in time, but it’s decidedly true at Caelum. Housed in what was once an ancient Jewish bathhouse, this combination of a café and a shop sells all sorts of sinfully sweet products, from biscuits to cakes to jams, all made by monks and nuns. You can sit either upstairs pressed against the glass windows to watch the hustle and bustle of the Gothic Quarter, or downstairs beneath the stony arches of the old bathhouse.

Carrer de Palla, 8

Onna Coffee

Ever since Onna landed on the Barcelona coffee scene devotees of the bean have been buzzing about the high-quality stuff brewed in this café, in an otherwise nondescript street in the Gràcia district. Onna is one of the few places that roasts their own coffee and their speciality is Costa Rican beans. The walls are painted in tribute to their coffee’s origins, and the wooden bar is usually heaving with delicious little morsels. The friendly staff is just icing on the homemade cake.

Carrer de Santa Teresa, 1

Satan’s Coffee Corner

A display of coffee beans at Satan's Coffee Corner (Photo: Toby Tamar via Flickr)

A display of coffee beans at Satan’s Coffee Corner (Photo: Toby Tamar via Flickr)

A piece of heaven on earth for those hooked on the demon bean, Satan’s Coffee Corner was designed around the concept of having a café in a window. The original location in the Raval was the smallest coffee shop in the city, but they’ve since upped sticks to a larger (though still not large) location in the Gothic Quarter. The coffee served is truly outstanding, and there are a wide range of blends to choose from. The owner creates custom blends and names them all after rock stars.

Carrer de l’Arc de Sant Ramon del Call, 11

Skye Coffee Co.

Housed inside an open studio with succulents hanging from the whitewashed walls, you’ll find this curious take on a coffee shop. It’s actually a coffee truck – and a very stylish 1970s Citroen HY van painted in gleaming silver at that – parked inside the large industrial space. The coffee served is top-notch, and if you get there early enough you can sip it with a slice of something sweet from the nearby Patisseria Hoffman. The truck travels around the city to events like music festivals and pop-up shows. You can also rent out Skye’s studio space for private events and meetings.

Carrer Pamplona, 88

Granja M. Viader

Strings of lights add a cosy air to the Granja M. Viader (Photo: rey perezoso via Flickr)

Strings of lights add a cosy air to the Granja M. Viader (Photo: rey perezoso via Flickr)

This Barcelona establishment dates back to 1870, when it was opened as a shop specialising in dairy products. Over the years, it started selling more varied products and added a bakery, where local specialties were cooked up. In 1931, Cacalot, a popular chocolate drink across Spain, was invited here, and there are plenty of photographs adorning the walls of the café today that remind you of that. Though the menu has evolved over the years, the décor has stayed nearly the same.

Carrer d’en Xuclà, 6

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