Coffee is a beloved beverage around the world and an important part of many cultures. Coffee is enjoyed several times throughout the day in Spain.
It isn’t a big coffee-producing country, but it does roast imported green coffee beans and re-export them.
If you’re a fan of really dark roasts, you’ll probably love Spanish coffee. The way Spanish coffee beans are typically preserved creates an interesting dark-roasted coffee.
We’re going to take a look inside Spain’s world of coffee and give you some suggestions for Spanish coffee brands to try.
About Spanish Coffee
Most Spanish coffee beans aren’t from Spain itself because it’s not a major coffee-producing country. The beans are imported from various coffee-growing regions around the world.
It isn’t as big as its German or Italian coffee roasting counterparts, but Spain does have its own special way of drinking and roasting coffee.
The roasting style is the star of the show when talking about Spanish coffee. The beverage is also enjoyed a little bit differently than in other coffee-loving countries.
History of Spanish Coffee
Coffee is believed to have arrived in Spain by Turkish immigrants. Spanish ships played a key role in transporting coffee seeds and plants around the world where the plants weren’t native.
The first coffee to be consumed and documented by a European is believed to be a Jesuit evangelist named Pedro Páez. He traveled to Ethiopia and Yemen where he discovered a dark drink that tasted bitter, which he documented in a book of his travels.
Coffee was initially enjoyed as a treat by the wealthy. Coffee shops were meeting places for intellectuals, philosophers, and those alike. Extravagant décor and furniture filled the coffee shops to create a sophisticated atmosphere.
Spanish coffee shops today are still used as meeting places but are a little less extravagant.
Where Does Spanish Coffee Come From?
Spain is one of the largest green coffee bean importers in the European Union (EU). In 2018, Spain imported about 260,000 tonnes of beans. This puts Spain in fourth place as the largest EU coffee importer.
Most of Spain’s imported green coffee comes from:
Spanish coffee can either be 100% Arabica beans or a blend of Arabica and Robusta varieties.
Spain isn’t a top coffee exporter. Finding authentic Spanish-roasted coffee beans can be a little difficult depending on your location.
Popular Spanish coffee brands may be ordered online and delivered to other countries, but shipping options can vary.
Spain does produce its own coffee, but not anywhere near the number of countries located in the Coffee Bean Belt. It has a coffee plantation located on the island of Gran Canaria in the San Pedro valley of Agaete.
Gran Canaria has lush, green forests in the northwestern portion of the island. It is right on the cusp of the Bean Belt, which allows it to have better conditions than the motherland of Spain to grow coffee.
Spanish Coffee Roast and Flavor Profiles
Spanish coffee has a special roasting method that’s been around for a long time. The coffee beans are preserved and roasted with sugar in a process called torrefacto. This gives the beans a more bitter flavor from the roasted sugar.
Torrefacto is a staple of Spanish coffee and pairs really well with the classic Spanish roast or dark French roast. The most common Spanish coffee roast is very dark and perfect for espresso drinks.
There is another common roast called mezcla. It’s a mixed version of normal beans and torrefacto beans. This will take away some of the bitterness you might get with straight torrefacto coffee.
Spanish coffee is definitely the way to go if you’re a dark-roasted coffee lover. Light roasts are pretty uncommon in Spanish coffees. It is possible to find a lighter roast, as Spanish importers and roasters may have single-origin beans that are better as light or medium roasts
Flavor profiles can vary widely since the beans are imported from African and Central and South American countries. With dark Spanish roasts, you’re likely to get a rich and intense cup of coffee.
Common Ways to Enjoy Spanish Coffee
There are several different ways Spanish coffee is enjoyed. If you want to experience Spanish coffee beans in all their glory, here are some popular Spanish coffee drinks:
- Café con leche
- Café solo
- Café bombon
- Café cortado
You may be familiar with café con leche. This coffee drink is one part coffee and one part milk. It is usually the first coffee drink that’s enjoyed during breakfast in Spain.
Café solo is a single shot of espresso. It can also be a regular black coffee. Nothing else is added in this drink. If you want two shots of espresso, it’s called a café doble.
If you love espresso but need something sweeter in it, you might want to try a café bombon. This drink combines coffee or espresso with sweetened condensed milk. It’s usually served in equal parts and is delicious!
A café cortado is perfect if you want a single shot of espresso with a splash of milk. This might be a better alternative if you still want milk, but not as much as a café con leche or café bombon.
5 Spanish Coffee Brands to Try
1. Café Baqué
- Grown at high altitudes
- Single-origin, traceable coffees
- Variety of flavors and roast options
- Shipping options may be limited
Café Baqué is headquartered in Biscay, Spain. It is one of the more popular Spanish coffee brands in the country.
Baqué offers specialty coffee beans that are produced organically and through sustainable farming techniques. Their specialty coffees are single-origin and include major coffee-producing countries, such as Brazil, Ethiopia, and Honduras.
The flavor profiles of their specialty coffees offer diverse flavor profiles from high-quality beans.
Café Basqué Honduras is noteworthy because it is 100% Arabica beans of the Catuai varietal, which are Strictly High Grown at 1,600 meters. It produces a full-bodied cup with fruity mango flavors and cocoa tasting notes.
The Honduran beans are also honey processed, which produces a medium acidity and adds some extra sweetness.
Shipping options may vary depending on your location and specialty coffees are not available year-round as they are seasonal products.
- Traditional sugar-roasted beans
- Specialty coffee available
- Limited coffee selection
- Shipping options may be limited
Saimaza is based out of a city in Spain called Seville, located in the southwestern corner of the country. It was founded over a century ago by Dr. Joaquin Sainz. In 1935, it was the third largest coffee importer in all of Spain.
If you’re looking for a more authentic Spanish coffee experience, you might want to try out some of Saimaza’s coffees. They have natural beans and mezcla beans. Their mezcla beans are a mixture of sugar-roasted beans and natural beans.
Saimaza Mezcla comes ground and produces a full-bodied cup with intense flavors. This brand also has other products available in their online shop, including specialty coffees and capsules.
Ordering options for this brand may be limited to select locations.
- Traditional sugar roasted beans
- Arabica varietals
- Bitter aftertaste
- Shipping options may be limited
Tupinamba is a Spanish coffee brand that was founded in 1897 in the big city of Barcelona. There isn’t an abundance of options for different coffee roasts and styles, but they do offer some great beans and coffee products.
Tupinamba Tradizione is an espresso-style roast with dense flavors. A portion of the beans is roasted with sugar, while 80% of the coffee is naturally processed Arabica beans.
It creates a full-bodied cup with hints of chocolate. Since this is mezcla coffee and it’s an espresso roast, it may have a bitter aftertaste.
They also sell single-origin coffee and espresso capsules.
Catunambú started out as a coffee shop in Seville in 1910. It offers a wide variety of coffees that consist of Arabica beans imported from Central and South America and Africa.
Some of their products include single-origin beans, specialty coffees, and coffee capsules with unique flavors.
Catunambú Natural Coffee is one of their dark roast coffee blends with Arabica varieties and robust flavors. The beans are naturally roasted and create an intense, full-bodied cup of coffee.
- Grown at high altitudes
- 100% Arabica beans
- Variety of roast and flavor options
- Shipping options limited to Europe
Based in Barcelona, Dibarcafé is a specialty coffee roaster and shop that sells a variety of ground and whole bean coffees. There are several roast options, from light and well-balanced to dark espresso.
If you’re looking for a light-bodied Spanish coffee, you might want to try Dibarcafé Gran Altura 1K. It’s a natural roasted coffee with 100% Arabica varieties. It is lower in caffeine than other Dibarcafé beans.
This aromatic coffee has light acidity with sweet flavors of caramel. The beans are grown at high altitudes between 1,200 and 2,000 meters, which is ideal for high-quality Arabica beans.
Overview: Spanish Coffee Brands
When buying Spanish coffee, you might notice that many of the roasts are dark. You may also notice torrefacto or mezcla sugar roasted options.
This is how most coffee is consumed in Spain. Many of the shops throughout the country serve coffee made from sugar-roasted beans.
If you love a rich and full-bodied dark roast, you might fall in love with Spanish coffee roasts. The downside is that Spanish coffee can be hard to come by depending on where you live.
Many authentic Spanish coffee brands don’t ship all around the world. Some brands are available in most European countries. You’ll want to look for coffees advertised as torrefacto, mezcla, Spanish roast, or dark French roast.
If you’re located in Europe, we suggest trying Dibarcafé Gran Altura 1K. This coffee is higher-quality Strictly High Grown Arabica beans. It’s also a bit lighter and may not have such a bitter aftertaste that you get with darker roasts.
The other Spanish coffee brands are also great options to try if you like darker roasts that produce a full-bodied cup.