Take a Tour of 3 Original Café Concepts in Barcelona

The Catalonian capital city has a booming specialty-coffee scene; we take a look at three standout shops.

BY TANYA NANETTI
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE

Featured photo courtesy of Skye Coffee Co.

In recent years, Spain has joined the third-wave coffee scene, with dozens of specialty-coffee roasters, inventive competitions, and shops popping up throughout the country, especially in tourist towns that boast lively expat communities.

But Barcelona is perhaps the most notable pioneer of the Spanish specialty-coffee scene, forging a path for other cities’ café cultures. Now, this doesn’t mean the traditional—not to mention beloved—coffee scene of ages past is gone. The best of the new cafés and roasteries are introducing the public to new tastes and experiences while also paying homage to those that came before them and created the coffee culture in the first place.

We’re showcasing three wonderful coffee spots here that amaze for their original concepts, high-quality offerings, and firm places in the heart of Barcelona as the next coming for Spain’s already legendary coffee scene.

Skye Coffee Co.: The stranded van

Nowadays, many specialty-coffee joints run on wheels—Volkswagen vans, small Citroëns, tiny Piaggio Apes—in big metropolises all over the world. It’s more and more common to stumble onto a coffee truck no matter where you go. Which brings us to Skye Coffee Co.: The most unusual thing about this vehicle is that, although it is a proper van (a converted 1972 Citroën HY), it’s not mobile—rather, it is comfortably housed in the multidisciplinary and metamorphic Espacio 88, created and managed by the architecture and design firm Castel Veciana.

Established back in 2014, both as a (successful) attempt to introduce specialty coffee to Barcelona and as a design project, Skye Coffee Co. has offered something quite unique from the first. It’s an epicenter for the local creative community, a meditative meeting place for retreating and finding inspiration, and a destination thriving with initiatives such as art exhibitions, pop-up brunches, and (COVID permitting) the Independent Barcelona Coffee Festival.

Skye Coffee's stranded van café in Barcelona.
Skye Coffee Co.: A vehicle that stays in one spot (which their loyal customers appreciate!). Photo courtesy of Skye Coffee Co.

La Cava Cakery: Cupcakes, coffee, and an unusual match 

The pairing of coffee and cakes is certainly nothing new: It’s easy to imagine that the two treats have been paired together since the beginning of the café age. Can there be any better combination than a good cup of coffee with a tasty piece of cake?

As the coffee scene evolved and the third wave of coffee began, coffee shops the world over started to upgrade their offerings by pairing specialty coffee not only with cakes, but also with trendy and delicious cupcakes. And up to this point, La Cava Cakery just went with the flow—apparently.

You see, La Cava’s main pairing with cupcakes is not specialty coffee (which, however, is always delicious and never missing from the menu), but Cava, the famous Catalan sparkling wine. Still a small family business and only four years old, La Cava’s team continues to create every single cupcake to perfectly match each specific Cava on offer—as well as every coffee.

La Cava Cakery take out latte in Barcelona, Spain.
La Cava Cakery: Pretty genius idea to offer high quality cava, cake, and specialty coffee. Photo courtesy of La Cava Cakery.

Three Marks Coffee: The name says it all

Cozy, industrial, and not at all part of the typical tourist areas in Barcelona, the first location of Three Marks Coffee was (and still is) located far off the beaten track, in the Fort Pienc neighborhood. Here, with its lovely atmosphere and delicious coffee, Three Marks established a specialty-coffee scene and has grown and nurtured a steady and passionate community.

The founders of Three Marks in Barcelona, Spain.
The three Marks of Three Marks. Photo courtesy of Three Marks

Besides the luscious coffees, however, there is an essential fun fact about Three Marks: If you want to know more about any of the coffees (or if you have any other request), just approach one of the guys behind the bar and try, casually, to call him Mark. Chances are good that he’ll turn to you with a smile (while wondering if you already know him): The company is actually owned and operated by Marc Aguyé, Marco De Rebotti, and Marco Paccagnella.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.

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