> Madrid Innovation Communities – Madrid’s First Wave Coffee Culture

Madrid Innovation Communities – Madrid has bounced back from the early 2010s with entrepreneurship and innovation, challenging even the most essential traditions including how coffee is processed, consumed, and loved.

Only seven years ago, Madrid’s coffee scene was nothing to shout about, but over the last decade, the ‘torrefacto’ norm has been challenged by Madrid’s first wave coffee culture that has gripped Madrid, and now innovation in Madrid’s coffee community & industry is bringing Madrileños a greater variety of coffee than ever before.

The transformative period that has undergone Madrid with the flourishing of specialty coffee has seen the birth of several specialty roasters, and many independent coffee shops popping up all over the city integrating with Madrilenians excellent quality of life.

Torrefacto roasted coffee beans in Madrid. Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Ben Frantz Dale

Goobye ‘torrefacto’

Only seven years ago, Madrid’s coffee scene was nothing to shout about, but over the last decade, the ‘torrefacto’ norm has been challenged by Madrid’s first wave coffee culture that has gripped Madrid, and now innovation in Madrid’s coffee community & industry is bringing Madrileños a greater variety of coffee than ever before.

Today, Madrid’s specialty coffee community of artisan roasters, baristas, independent shops and cafés, and specialty coffee lovers is growing and mixing great with the otherwise superb hospitality sector of the city.

In a capital where you could lay your hands on the best ‘jamón ibérico’, with a plummy glass of Rioja, complemented by the rich flavor of cured cheese, or easily find any variety of fish and seafood, the idealization of coffee seemed rather unnecessary. Who needs coffee when you can have a ‘caña’, huh? And indeed, it seemed that Madrid, whose many beverage innovations include the best gin and tonic, was never going to reach the status of a Naples, Melbourne, or the Colombian Paisa.

The origins of Madrid’s lack of coffee innovation – or where coffee roasting and servicing stopped, date back to a culture shaped by the post-war times after the 1930s. Due to both the widespread scarcity, Spaniards used a process in which sugar was added to the toasting of the coffee beans. The sugar added to extend the life of poor-quality coffee beans and the resultant taste was more burnt, bitter, and stronger than plain toasting would have had. The added sugar covered the beans in a sticky black caramelization and became the general Spanish practice for decades. This process of adding sugar became known in Spanish as torrefacto

Rwanda coffee beans roasted in Madrid. Photo: CC/Marte Martin

With specialty coffee, Madrid’s hospitality becomes even better

The transformative period that has undergone Madrid with the flourishing of specialty coffee has seen the birth of several specialty roasters, and many independent coffee shops popping up all over the city integrating with Madrilenians excellent quality of life.

With the rise of specialty coffee, Madrid’s coffee scene has become more vibrant than ever. Specialty coffee is the ultimate antithesis to the old ‘torrefacto’ status quo. Now, among the tapas bars, ‘mercados’ and ‘jamonerías’ that line Madrid’s streets, new and innovative specialty coffee shops are showcasing the budding barista culture.

Strolling down the barrios of Chamberí, Lavapiés, and Malasaña, the colorful array of elegant, clean coffee shops has become a walkthrough anthology of Madrid’s innovation potential. And the creative coffee shop and café owners have really demonstrated the power of the city’s imaginative capacity; the coffee really is both unique and excellent, and superbly integrated with Madrid’s already great gastronomy offering.

It is obvious that the rise of the specialty coffee has brought out coffee connoisseurs who really know what they’re talking about when it comes to coffee and are not just business owners jumping on a trendy fad. From pistachio lattes, prepared and paired with expert care for supreme fineness, to orange-flavored foam added to perfected cappuccinos, these artistic geniuses are bringing Madrid a taste of something unique to the city-goers.

Avocado & Dates Masa Madre Toast in Madrid specialty café. Photo: CC/Marte Martin

Naturally, in true Spanish style, the coffee innovation in Madrid has brought a fresh take on the typical coffeehouse food. Not merely the Sourdough toast with avocado and smoked-salmon draped bagels epitomized by the average coffee shop, but also pickled eggplant served with Japanese BBQ and ‘masa madre’ toasts with avocado and dates.

Specialty coffee serving in Madrid. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Mike from NYC

Coffee culture has become an integral part of Madrid’s innovation and creative ecosystem, just when it seemed that it would never arrive. Seeing the lines of small business owners combining their expertise in coffee and restaurateur skill is exciting, to say the least. It’s evident of this avant-garde nature that Madrid possesses as the city bursts with innovative hospitality even to overcome stubborn aspects of Spanish tradition. But it is only the light foam on the mocha…

Join us to uncover what industries, organizations and individuals are launching Madrid into the innovation economy and the world of tomorrow. Let’s celebrate their stories, and let’s create impact!

For more information or to participate, visit INNOVATE™ Madrid by clicking on this link.

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