The Sprudge Coffee Guide to Valencia, Spain
The city of Valencia, Spain is no stranger to specialty coffee and our adoption of this delicious product is no mere trend.
Here in our traditionally wine-growing country, coffee has been taken for many decades in the form of espresso, a style of coffee preparation imported from the Italians. Espresso shots in Spain have long been synonymous with bitter, heavily roasted flavors served with lots of sugar and milk. And that’s still how most coffee in Spain is served, but that paradigm is rapidly changing, thanks to pioneering Barcelona cafes like Satan and NOMADIC. Today, the city of Valencia can stand alongside Barcelona with several excellent coffee destinations, forming an integral part of the growing interest in specialty coffee throughout Spain.
Here are five perfect places to celebrate the gastronomy of delicious coffee in Valencia.
Beat the stir bar
Beat the stir bar is one of my favorite places to enjoy a coffee not only in Valencia, but in all of Spain. Founded by two Peruvian expats (passing through Japan and Australia), this coffee bar is focused on sourcing and quality, and offers unique products that directly benefit coffee farmers, including coffee husk tea and coffee flower tea. Beat prefers to use the term “brew bar” as opposed to coffee shop, focusing on the extraction of brewed coffee done with great skill. From classic V60 to less common brew methods like the Kalita Wave and Origami, Beat Brew Bar also offers cold brew recipes like cold drip cold brew, halogen siphons and even a kombucha coffee – it really is an infusion bar.
Beat dedicates Tuesdays and Wednesdays to delivering classes for people who want to learn how to brew a good, quality cup of coffee at home, with an emphasis on the filter rather than the espresso. They roast their own coffee as part of a collaborative project and also make their own chocolates in-house from raw cocoa. As part of a broader store philosophy, Beat does not serve any form of animal milk at the bar, instead offering eight different milk alternatives, from soy to oatmeal to almond, as well as varieties less common such as coconut and nutsedge.
Retrogusto has been known for many years as *the* place for espresso in Valencia. It is a three square meter stand located in the popular Central Market of Valencia, just in front of La Lonja, where exceptional coffee is served to take away. If you’re lucky, you might find a place to perch up in its little bar, before continuing your shopping spree in this charming and historic place. Being located inside the city’s main market with over 300 outlets, it’s striking how a small cafe is one of the few with long queues.
This little market stall is always one step ahead when it comes to espresso coffee, serving up one shot after another to the busy crowds of market goers. Retrogusto opened its doors in May 2015, working with different local and international micro-roasters depending on the seasonal coffee they prefer, as well as a main roaster, the renowned Cafe on the right of Barcelona, among the first true specialty coffee roasters in Spain.
Another café in Valencia run by expats (this time from Venezuela via Australia and New Zealand), Blackbird opened in 2018, drawing inspiration from coffee experiences in some of the most sophisticated coffee markets in the world, as well as the baking and confectionery traditions of Rome. Today, Blackbird has become the best local and maybe even national hotspot for those who appreciate specialty coffee as well as homemade pastries and seasonal dishes made with the finest ingredients. Everything they serve is handmade in the on-site bakery with just a wall of glass separating it from the glare of hungry customers. This clever but simple addition allows any passer-by to have a glimpse of his universe of pastry creation. Personally, I recommend the Blackbird version of the classic Bostock patisserie, as well as the excellent granola, and of course a deliciously ground cup of coffee, available until 8pm, much later than most cafes in Valencia.
Bluebell Cafe opened in 2015 and is considered by many to be the ‘first’ specialty café in the city of Valencia, paving the way for the modern coffee industry here in Spain. This cafe-bar is owned and operated by women, and are pioneers in the male-dominated Spanish industry. They are also roasters and have direct relationships with the coffee growers they buy from through importers, with a focus on women-led farms and cooperatives.
Today, Bluebell continues a tradition of excellence by hosting training seminars, local coffee competitions and collaborations, including their exclusive partnership with the local craft brewery. Zeta. It’s not just one of the best cafes in Valencia, or just the first to do it right, it’s a special combination of all those factors and a must visit for coffee lovers in this part of Spain. Spain.
goat coffeeThe story of is a unique family tale. This place was originally a project called “The Italian Corner”, owned by a well-known Italian family in Valencia, but with Venezuelan roots via Cambridge, UK. The Italian corner has now closed, but the family behind it now owns several takeaway cafes in Valencia, and this one, Goat Coffee, is my favourite.
The goat pretty much sticks to a traditional Italian approach to coffee and even imports coffee beans from Italy. The motto of the shop is “Il vero espresso italiano” – the owner’s dream is that Italian tourists discover his coffee, give him a chance and offer the opportunity to converse in Italian. The aim here is to serve a traditional espresso from Italy “come en casa”, which means “like at home”.
Guillermo Alvarado is a freelance journalist based in Valencia, Spain. This is Guillermo Alvarado’s feature debut for Sprudge.