The best specialty coffee shops in Madrid

The best specialty coffee shops in Madrid

Jessica Benavides Canepa

A city full of classic treasures can still have its little secrets — until now that is. Madrid, the Spanish capital of understated cool, has never been known for its coffee culture. Thankfully, a growing crop of coffeehouses, stocked with artisan beans from the world’s master producers and served in retro design spaces all around town, are poised to change that notion. Here’s a look at the best specialty coffee shops in Madrid for Java and creative inspiration.

Monkee Koffee

Retro-industrial in look but homey in essence, Monkee Koffee serves coffee aficionados exclusive blends from beans harvested in Colombia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya and Guatemala. At one of the best coffee shops in Madrid, located in classic Chamberi, patrons can combine their artisan brew with homemade desserts or healthy brunch bites. The inviting, exposed-brick space also offers a choice of seating options; community-style atop long wood slabs, on small tables with weathered chairs or on a lived-in leather couch as well as a self-service corner offering visitors a total rest stop. But the true appeal besides the appetising menu is the commendable attention to detail; expertly trained baristas, fresh milk imported from Madrid-based Los Combos, careful temperature control and bread baked daily at neighbouring Tahona del Pintor.

Bianchi Kiosko Caffe | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Bianchi Kiosko Caffe | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Lots Coffee House

Conceptualised by an impassioned barista dedicated to the craft of superior coffee brewing, Lots Coffee House offers coffee lovers 13 seasonal, high-quality coffee blends to sample in-house or to take home. The tiny shop set in a bright, natural-wood environment with state-of-the-art café fixtures and selections dominating the floor-to-ceiling shelves, serves varieties that originated in Latin America, Africa and Indonesia, among others. One of the most upmarket coffee shops in Madrid, catering to connoisseurs and the curious alike in the ritzy Salamanca district, the standout feature at this coffee spot is the detailed brewing process explanation for every blend on offer; from experimental flavour combos to exquisite selections such as Panama Geisha, a remarkably complex bean that happens to be the most expensive coffee available on the market today.

Toma Café

More like a comfy loft space than a coffeehouse, hipster Malasaña’s Toma Café reflects the laid-back tastes and preferences of its creative owners. The white-tiled bar, speckled with friendly ferns specialises in Nicaraguan, Brazilian and Colombian coffees served with artisan sweet treats including carrot cake, brownies and Argentine dulce de leche or a light breakfast if so inclined. The popular albeit cramped spot caters to a loyal crowd of Java junkies with an appreciation for quality roasts who quickly fill the unassuming 10-seater. For a change of flavour, try the spicy hot chocolate, a popular crowd pleaser, especially when the temperatures begin to drop.

Ruda Café | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Ruda Café | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Ruda Café

One of the newest specialty coffee shops in Madrid, Ruda Café prefers to keep its Java offerings closer to home; all coffee (100% Arabica is the standout) is meticulously roasted locally. Though unassuming in feel, the place is for serious coffee drinkers; a top-of-the-line, stainless steel Marzocco machine is a welcoming countertop centrepiece. This lovely place with its artistically tattered walls, a juice cooler and custom-made pieces, is intimate and cosy; a wooden slate lines a wall, serving as a table with a few mismatched stools for short breaks, take away goodies and conversation.

Pum Pum Café

The irony is not lost to the regulars of the Pum Pum Café, as the boho-chic bio coffee and veggie brunch spot once stood as a 19th-century butcher shop. Located in artsy Lavapiés, the coffee at this chill café is freshly roasted and ground daily and comes from a small local producer. The distressed dark brick walls, cushioned seating, chill lighting and open-plan layout, makes it the one of the best coffee shops in Madrid for lounge aficionados and eco-conscious expats looking for green alternatives. As a quirky side note, aside from the coffee and cakes all of the daily organic offerings are prepared by neighbouring businesses and are mostly improvised day to day; there are no menus or boards stating available items or their healthy ingredients.

Pum Pum Café | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Pum Pum Café | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

HanSo Café

The convivial pewter paradise of relaxation HanSo Café is the brainchild of a Chinese-born barista with big dreams and aims to provide a welcoming place for speciality coffee consumption. Indeed, all the coffee on offer in this designer space (think: distressed walls, immaculate tiled counter space, mood lighting and dark woods) is supplied by some of the best micro-roasters in the business; Nomad Coffee and Right Side Coffee Roasters to name but two. Everything one could desire for a brekkie break or lazy afternoon is on offer from bagels to light salads, but the truly distinguishing features of this Malasaña mainstay are the Asian-influenced desserts (lovingly made by the owner’s wife and partner) and exceptional Matcha latte.

Bianchi Kiosko Caffé

Eco-friendly and retro-fab, Bianchi Kiosko Caffé is an excellent example of what one could do with a very limited space. From what amounts to little more than a counter, a blackboard and a couple of chairs, Sandro Bianchi (who is also an international DJ, broadcaster and music producer) has conjured into being a quirky space (read: caricatures on walls, gold-gilded chandelier) with fine bio coffee and eclectic music beats. The mini-café’s best sellers include Caribbean blend and Colombian single origin coffee, served with exclusively fresh milk from an eco-conscious dairy farm. Also, in keeping with their brand philosophy, you’ll find a selection of vegetable-based options. Try their organic Chai tea latte, which is homemade according to a secret family recipe.

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