36 Hours in Barcelona
Or How I missed a bike tour and wasted all my money!
It was my second time in Barcelona, where the sunny pavements and crowds of tourists meet as they search for more hidden and forgotten Gaudi designs than can ever be listed, or squandering cash on questionable tapas or street performers. It was this sunny January where I decided to return and look for something that I didn’t quite find the first time I visited six years ago; good coffee.
This journey for me at least was an interesting one. But also, quite a short one, so let’s call this episode 36 hours in Barcelona, or how I missed a bike tour and wasted my money!
After checking into our Airbnb after a very bumpy Ryanair classic landing we immediately hit the Gothic streets so conveniently situated near our apartment, and I had one location in mind, the now famous Nømad Roastery. It was only hard to find because of the desire to wander down more lovely alleys and cobbled streets all suggesting their own mysteries, but I must say, turning into the passage where Nømad was tucked away, was one of the best pleasures I have ever had. It may have been a timing sort of a thing, or just luck, but see for yourself, the sun just shone enough into the alley way. Such a pleasure.
We entered the shop and eagerly looked for somewhere comfortable to sit, and after a minute found the nicest seats were actually at the bar so I slapped my ass down there quick enough in a position to see everything going on in front of me. I was met by two funny baristas. The first was a Dutch girl who was immediately friendly, and the next was a tall and handsome Italian man who at first appeared a little quiet but after a few minutes he was super chatty and amazing to talk to. I asked about the espressos and he recommended quickly the Burundi, to which I accepted a double. What I loved about Nomad was just how friendly the atmosphere was, it really made the day for me and I felt like I could have been working there. I learned that the girl was Mariella, from the Netherlands and herself has a nice little coffee travel blog the Exploring Barista which is much better than mine, which inspires me to do better with this thing, and the possibilities it can lead to for both myself and anyone who decides to read it. I felt both welcome as a barista and a guest, and I really liked the attitude they both had.
The coffee was great, a light bodied Burundi that I remember vividly tasting of Brown sugar and dark fruits. My girlfriend had a typical flat white that had a nice texture and shared a nice sweet tone. I noticed the shop didn’t serve sugar which became a topic we spoke at length about. They both shared the view that if you go to so much trouble to roast great coffee, why would you want to destroy it with sugar. I really loved the size of the shop, the openness and how much I as a guest could see. Then I found myself drooling over the amazing ceramics from Figgjo that were acquired through Tim Wendelboe. I felt love for the first ceramic ever. After acquiring a nice little list, we hit the streets and started looking for more treasures.
Looking for Satan’s Corner was not very difficult. Because I thought a pretty coffee map that was only 4euros in Nømad was a perfect companion to my trip in Barcelona, even though I had google maps and a list of coffee shops, but hey, who doesn’t want awesome memorabilia. (PS props to the guys who designed this map, it was one of the nicest coffee maps I’ve seen).
Satan’s Corner was tucked away down another beautiful side street, not far from a church and an awesome piece of graffiti that read “Leia in the sky with Diamonds” with an image of Princess Leia.
I loved the layout of Satan’s Corner, an entrance that separated the counter and the main room, where people getting quick espressos or to go drinks could make their order or chill-out and chat, and inside the room, the barista space and the customer space was the same.
In fact, I was sure if I asked I probably could have easily just made my own coffee.It was a comfortable space that asked me to come back. I decided to go milk tasting so ordered a Cortado and a Batch Brew. My other half, a beer, because why not. Honestly, I should have gotten a beer as well. I was already way over caffeinated, so found it hard to finish the batch brew but enjoyed it non-the less. The cortado was a nice sweet milk drink, but then I discovered the most evil thing in the world. The huge glazed doughnut just looking right at me. And I couldn’t say no. I felt the service was nice, the Baristas and staff super friendly and willing to chat. I bought a bag of Burundi Filter beans and walked out with that delicious glazed Doughnut (which was very tender, sweet and doughy), and we head out looking for paella, or more food, something Spanish perhaps, quickly finding our way to the huge market in the center of the town.
Coffee touring on the first day was pretty rushed, as we really wanted to hit a bit of some of the more cultured areas of the town, and soak in some art, that sort of thing, but it was such a great start to a fantastic trip in a wonderful town.
Coming up in part two will be the fun we had eating everything that came from the sea, and how I really did waste all my money. Until then,
Go Raibh Míle Maith Agát.