The purpose of our trip was to visit friends. It really was. Which means no planned coffee shop visits.
Well, technically I didn’t plan any.
But then again, whenever I travel, I mark a couple of locations on my favorite offline map app – you know… just in case!
And as we were wandering the streets of Barcelona, I just happened to notice we were only a few blocks from a location that offers up their own roasts, along with something we had not found since our time in the states in 2015: nitro cold brew coffee.
Yeah, that last part was all it took to convince hubby and his friend to make a short detour.
We meandered our way down Passatge Sert, and while we were still probably 50 meters away, I spotted a telltale sign of a third wave shop: an iconic wooden sandwich board. Before my weak eyesight could make out the letters, I knew we’d found our place.
Nømad Coffee Lab & Shop
A small and simple cafe, tucked cozily into a charming passageway in downtown Barcelona, Nømad’s sparse design and warehouse feel are not uncommon among many third wave shops. The bar, complete with several stools and built-in granite slabs on the rustic countertops are inviting. Several side tables add a few additional seats. No wi-fi – which I increasingly appreciate, in a world filled with way too many distractions. Lots of big windows, letting in Barcelona’s nearly perpetual sunshine.
Yes, the set-up is nice. But anyone can make a cafe look good. The best coffee experience requires more than a pretty face.
Nømad is definitely more than just a pretty face. Jordi Mestre and his team offer quality coffee, personally roasted just across town at their roaster. But more than that, they know their craft. And the staff is focused on sharing their passion and artistry with each and every customer, by offering quality in every cup, and a bit of education along the way.
Hubby and I often say that you can only do so much with coffee. And while there seem to be new drinks and brewing methods coming out constantly, there are still limitations.
That’s when it comes down to a couple of important things: better beans, and better baristas. Better beans come from better farmers, receiving better wages, working under better conditions. And better baristas do more than pull an excellent espresso or pour some fancy latte art. They also engage the customer, even if only for a moment, and make that moment and that coffee a memorable experience.
Holland Comes to Catalonia
So what made our Nømad experience better? Well, as I said before, the nitro coffee certainly didn’t hurt. We also enjoyed an espresso with a distinct flavor profile, and a rich and flavorful cappuccino. And we were served by Mariëlla, a charming and personable barista who hails from the Netherlands.
While there were plenty of other customers around – barely an empty seat in the place – Mariëlla made us feel welcome and helped us to better understand the drinks we selected and the Nømad operation itself.
I think the initial ‘bonding moment’ was when I recognized that they were using the Tim Wendelboe-designed cups at their shop. But I digress…
The barista’s own story is enough on its own – and in fact, we are sharing it on our sister blog, To Be Told (you should definitely check it out here!). But long story short, the girl known as The Exploring Barista set out to explore the heart of Catalonia for a summer. That holiday soon morphed into something more. She decided to make barcelona her home, and six months ago, she began working under Jordi’s guidance at Nømad.
Barcelona is a fantastic town. It’s home to quite a few fantastic coffee shops (we managed to visit two while there). So if you happen to make it to the heart of Catalonia, be sure to stop by Nømad Coffee – and if Mariëlla is there, tell her that her friends in Norway sent you!
Nømad Coffee has three locations:
Nømad Coffee Lab & Shop: Passatge Sert 12 08003 Barcelona
Nømad Every Day: Carrer Joaquín Costa 26, 08001 Barcelona
Nømad Roasters Home: Carrer de Pujades 95, 08005 Barcelona
And you can follow Mariëlla’s latest coffee and travel adventures at http://www.theexploringbarista.com