The iconic Spanish roaster from Barcelona returns to The Coffeevine with a fresh and floral fresh crop Ethiopian coffee from Genji Challa
All of us have experienced lockdowns in different ways. For some, being at home, finally, was a blessing. We could catch up on all of the reading or home improvement projects we’ve been putting off for months. And let’s be honest. Who didn’t have a go at making sourdough bread, oftentimes with mixed results?
For others, it has been a real challenge. First, trying to figure out what this all means, then trying to figure out how to make it through and now, how to come out of lockdowns with new vigour and ready to face the new world we’re living in?
But the truth is that many café owners and roasters, in particular, faced true existential crises that some were able to weather better than others.
Take Nomad from Barcelona, for example. The iconic roasting company that was set up by Jordi Mestre has a true global following that ranges from coffee enthusiasts who brew their fine coffees at home to the finest coffee shops that serve their coffees. I’ve come across their coffees in places like Dublin and Budapest, just to name a few.
Lucky for them, their e-commerce game was already pretty strong even before covid came and wrecked havoc. “Our webshop really helped us to get through this really strict lockdown that we had here in Spain,” Jordi offered during our recent live Q&A on Instagram.
He also said that they had just opened a beautiful new café inside Acid House, a creative space in Poble Nou that is also home to its roastery, when the government imposed its lockdown. “We were literally open for four weeks when we had to close,” he continued. “As you can imagine, we’re super anxious to reopen all of our cafés next week.”
Barcelona had been on a bit of a negative trajectory before the pandemic broke out, truth be told. Although the Catalonian capital always stood out as one of southern Europe’s most dynamic and popular cities, excessive tourism had led to some real issues that the government had to address.
Some bad apples had taken Airbnb to ridiculous levels, offering a disproporationate amount of apartments as holiday rentals while the city faced severe housing shortages. So much so that the mayor took drastic steps to curb the number of apartments that can be booked through the platform.
Like Amsterdam, Barcelona had been overrun and in some ways, the sudden disappearance of truckloads of tourists meant that locals like Jordi and his colleague Francisco Gonzales were finally able to rediscover their city. “For the first time in years, I actually had a chance to visit Park Guëll,” Jordi exclaimed.
The local coffee scene in Barcelona was always something the city was very proud of. With some of the best cafés in Spain, lots of exciting roasters in its vicinity and an exceptional food scene, Barcelona offers a fantastic mix of local and international restaurants, many of which only work with the rich local produce from the city’s gorgeous surroundings.
“We were literally open for four weeks when we had to close. As you can imagine, we’re super anxious to reopen all of our cafés next week.”
But, of course, much of the cafés’ revenue also came from visitors. This, has completely dried up but it also offers a unique chance to reconnect with the city’s resident locals and expats who, for the first time, don’t have to elbow their way through tourists who are glaring at their screens while trying to navigate the city’s many alleys.
For obvious reasons, Jordi has been cautious about making plans for 2020. He shared that they were planning to move the roastery to a new location but due to the volatility of the current situation, they would not want to commit to a firm date. At the same time, they’ve been launching exciting new products like their collaboration with US-based Voila Instant Coffee that you can get from their webshop.
Personally, I’m very excited to have Nomad in one of our boxes again after almost two years since their last feature. This time, they’re celebrating the arrival of fresh Ethiopian crops by offering their summer coffee for our upcoming July ’20 Coffeevine box. This coffee is a real standout that combines floral and citrusy notes into one exciting cup of gorgeous balanced coffee.
Hailing from Genji Challa in Jimma, a wet mill that is associated to one of our other all-time favourites, the Nano Challa, this processing station serves around 700 smallholder farmers who get support on everything from achieving better yields to managing their debts. This helps the community to feel more independent and encourages them to produce better coffees.
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Our July ’20 Coffeevine box also features Coffee LAB from Warsaw and Common Greens from Amsterdam.