If you are an ardent coffee drinker visiting Spain and staying at a luxury apartment in Madrid you might want a lesson in Spanish coffee and torrefacto before deciding on visiting some of the best cafés in Madrid. Torrefacto is a specialized process of roasting beans that was originally used for better preservation during the Spanish Civil War but is generally not used in most of the coffee world.
Roasting coffee beans is considered an art and most coffee loving countries, which has been expanding rapidly throughout the world, which includes the development of quality baristas and cafés to deliver the ultimate cup of Java. However in some countries such as Portugal, Spain and France, most of their coffee both commercially available and in cafés have included torrefacto coffee beans of the robusta nature, not the typical arabica beans, most other countries are used to. The torrefacto process includes roasting beans with sugar creating a burnt sugar glaze over top of the bean thereby preserving the bean enabling it to last longer. This process was brought to Spain originally directly after the Spanish Civil War in a time of scarcity that required better preservation techniques. Yet the process often produces lesser quality coffee by providing a more burnt, acrid and bitter tasting coffee. The coffee produced is also usually darker enabling cafés to use less coffee to produce the same product. The taste difference is subjective between coffee drinkers so if you find you are not favorable of the local brew look for Café serving 100% natural or arabica beans.
The other issue of ordering a coffee in Spain is learning how to do so with the myriad of options available in the Spanish café. Here is a list of the most popular coffees ordered in Spain.
Café con Leche – one of the most popular coffees ordered in Spain is simply an espresso brewed with milk. It is generally 50% coffee and 50% milk.
Café Solo – another very popular choice is a single espresso without milk or sugar.
Café Doble – simply a doubling of the solo.
Café Largo – is a single espresso but with more water passed through the filter essentially making it similar to a regular coffee.
Café Cortado – literally means stained coffee, which is espresso with a drop of milk.
Leche Manchada – is the opposite of cortado, where it tastes more like coffee flavored milk.
Café con Hielo – is espresso with a glass of ice, in order to produce ice coffee and can be very refreshing in the summer.
Café Bonbon – an espresso with condensed milk producing a sweet coffee taste.
The best cafés are going to be those that can produce both local torrefacto coffee and more traditional Western-style coffee with arabica beans. Toma Cafe, La Bicicleta, and MUR Café all offer great choices for arabica quality coffee and espresso, whereas most other local shops can provide a torrefacto brew to assault your taste buds.
Try some of the best cafes in Madrid and decide for yourself if you prefer torrefacto or traditionally roasted brew. Take a walk from your beach apartment in Madrid for great people watching and grab a cup of Joe.