October 1 marks International Coffee Day, which is an occasion to talk about this invigorating drink all over the world. Spain is no exception. Spaniards love coffee, but they often laugh at their strangeness in their relationship with the beverage. According to the International Coffee Organization, imports of beans to Spain have increased by 61% since 1990. Locals are increasingly consuming coffee, paying attention to taste and drinking. Customers are more and more interested in the origin of the beans to choose the most suitable aroma and acidity. “Proof that people care about the quality of the product is the fact that more and more customers are carefully choosing the weight of their coffee to make it at home,” explains José Garcia, manager of one of Madrid’s modern coffee houses, Toma Café, where they roast beans with customers and consult on the choice of varieties.
The heart drawn on milk foam is a fashionable decorative element of modern coffee houses, but, according to experts, it loses its relevance recently. “Presentation and service is very important. However, the variety of flavours of the product comes first,” explains Nolo Botana, co-founder of Hello Coffee. He also notes that every day there is a growing interest in the variety of varieties, growing conditions, roasting process and aroma dependence on all these factors. Customers are more likely to ask questions and prefer to observe the roasting and beverage preparation process.
Coffee shop as a physical place is gradually going into the background. Bianchi Kiosko Caffé in Madrid, for example, gives coffee makers more space in the coffee shop than customers. Cafetería Industrial in Barcelona does not even have ten seats for guests, but it is famous for its special coffee culture and attracts young coffee drinkers. Large coffee chains such as Starbucks, which broke into Spain more than a decade ago, then became a trendy place where people would come with laptops to connect to wireless internet and drink coffee while working or watching the news. Cooking spaces are now more often used for this purpose, and coffee shops are becoming increasingly minimalist.
Ten years ago, cappuccino and latte became fashionable, replacing traditional coffee drinks such as café con leche and cortado. Nowadays, young people are interested in the taste properties of different types of filter-coffee, but many middle-aged Spaniards do not know yet how it differs from the usual Americano.
Coffee experts note that among the Spaniards is very popular capsule coffee. Maybe because of the TV screens, it is persistently presented by George Clooney? “Capsule coffee is a practical invention for making a drink at home. Due to the optimal grinding of beans and special pressure in the coffee maker, coffee often turns out to be quite good in quality. However, regardless of the brand of capsules, it is necessary to study on the label the percentage of Arabica content and the place of origin of the beans”, – say the experts of the laboratory Coffee Consulting, where analyses and tasting courses are conducted.