When you think of Spain, does coffee come to mind? Chances are that it’s not the first thing. Once you leave Madrid, that may change.
The typical coffee of choice? A cafe con leche – in other words, coffee with milk. You’ll often see locals and expats drinking this the morning after an infamously long night out. As a self-proclaimed coffee snob, I don’t believe it’s that simple.
Not-so-little fact about me: I spent a semester in university living in Madrid. After intensely missing Sydney’s coffee scene, some friends and I set out to find the best coffee shops in Madrid. This post lists my top favourites. Some of these places also serve some INCREDIBLE food and may pop up in another post in the near future!
> Coffee and Kicks: This coffee shop is sneakily hidden away in the middle of Sol and happens to be inspired by the owner’s love of sneakers (hence the name, “Coffee and Kicks”.). It’s a very intimate place with only a handful of benches for tasting and absorbing the aroma of the coffee. Coffee & Kicks holds a very dear place in my heart – I used to live around the corner and pop in for a “café con leche de soja” most days of the week, and often used their wifi to make Facetime calls home.
> Toma Café: This list would not be complete without including Toma! Toma has established a strong reputation as one of the best specialty coffee roasters in Madrid. It is a great spot to explore drinks beyond the standard cafe con leche. Try a pour over, cold brew or even a chocolate picante (a hot chocolate spiced with chili!).
> AbonaVida: Madrid is not known to be a zen city, but you would forget that straight away once you step inside AbonaVida. The cafe is decorated with lots of green shrubs and hanging lightbulbs. With this, they’ve created a soothing vibe for you to relax with a café con leche and work on your laptop if you need. Go any time – in the morning for some toasts or at night with some friends for cocktails and live music.
> Federal: Federal is leading the way for a growth in the number of Australian-inspired cafes in Madrid. Not only do they brew a fantastic iced coffee but their food is phenomenal. Much like the café scene in Australia, you can build your own breakfast. Think: sourdough toast, avocado, eggs, even haloumi cheese – whatever you fancy. Their open space makes for a great place to catch up with some friends and nourish you for the day.
> La Bicicleta: La Bicicleta directly translates to English as “The Bicycle”, so naturally you can expect a bicycle theme. La Bicicleta café itself takes on an industrial, vintage look which strongly resembles the streets of Brooklyn, New York. They even have a floor downstairs filled with extra couches and coffee tables. This can come in handy if you’re also looking for a place to get some work or study done. Head in on a weekend and you can have your coffee as part of their weekend brunch special!
> Pum Pum Café: Pum Pum stands out in its Lavapies neighbourhood as there’s nothing else like it nearby. Like Federal, Australia’s cafes inspired its creation. Be sure to treat yourself to a homemade lamington while you’re there!
> Bianchi Kiosko: This little kiosk in Malasana lives up to its name. It’s not common to see people carry a small takeaway coffee to go but Bianchi Kiosko aims to change that. There are also benches outside for you to sit and watch people casually walk by.
> Little Big Café: Located in Moncloa, this is one of the best places to go for a coffee and some toast outside of the Madrid city centre in Moncloa. Definitely hit it up before a day trip to explore Madrid’s outskirts: Moncloa is a local hub for buses and regional routes.
> HanSo Café: HanSo is inspired by the cafes of Japan and is one of the few places where you can find matcha on the menu. But don’t let that sway you from your standard cafe con leche. The baristas have also competed in multiple coffee brewing championships – so you can be sure that they know what they’re doing!
>Anticafe: The Anticafe stands out from just about every other hub in Madrid. You won’t find it open in the morning, for instance. Anticafe duplicates as a café and a bar with a variety of beers, wines, sangrias and cocktails on offer. In saying that, there’s nothing to stop you from having a night time coffee fix! Definitely recommend if you’re into cafes which tell a story. The Anticafe’s is colourful and vibrant with a touch of hipster.
Are you a coffee drinker? What is your go-to order?