Spain was always a curios case of coffee, as it was historically usually overshadowed by the Italian espresso tradition. But anyone who has been to Spain knows that coffee is an important part of Spanish culture, right next to the paellas and sangrias of this sunny country. And what we see now is the specialty coffee movement on the rise in Spain with more and more really good and creative roasters emerging and pushing the third wave of coffee.
Last year we had a chance to taste a Guatemala El Rincon by Puchero, a Spanish specialty roaster that sparked our attention. A few months passed when we found the empty bag in a drawer and decided we need to dig a bit deeper into the Spanish countryside, where Puchero coffee is roasted. We hooked up with the team and, while getting to know their roasts a bit better, we also had a little chat with them. Enjoy this little interview we had with Marco, one of the founders.
All Images courtesy of El Carrusel
Who is Puchero actually?
The core of the team is an Italian-Spanish duo, we’re Marco and Paloma. I (Marco) come from Italy my background in economics and finance. Before committing myself to coffee, I worked in banking in London for many years. Paloma is a physiotherapist that has worked in Italy, the UK, and Spain for many years. Then there’s Elena, our bagging/packing and admin expert and Ana, our international sales and socials guru. And then there’s Michael and Cana (USA) of Filanthrope. They are our source of inspiration and our mentors, and they visit periodically.
How did you get into specialty coffee?
Following many years of living in London, we decided to stop, reflect, look at things from new perspectives, and see where a new path would lead us.
That decision would take us on a long journey through different countries and continents for 12 months. We were in most Southeast Asian countries and later on in the USA, Mexico, and Cuba. During this trip, we were lucky to meet incredible and inspiring people who permeated us with their love for this amazing seed. Among theme were Michael and Cana of Filanthrope, whom we met in Vietnam. A dinner and a few beers in Dalat and a few months later they were here, at our home, teaching us the secrets of coffee and becoming a fundamental part of the Puchero team.
Michael and Cana have many years of experience in the coffee business, acquired both working for top roasters in the US and through their non-profit project now at the origin in Vietnam.
Where are you located?
We decided to set up shop in the quiet countryside of Castilla y León. We had a blank canvas to play with and, together with an extraordinary natural setting, a big amount of freedom to shape our ideal workplace. The space we chose is a barn that was formerly used to farm organic chickens! The design of our refurbished space was heavily influenced by some of the leading cafés and roasteries in the British capital with confident open-plan touches that encourage discourse and transparency.
What does Puchero actually mean?
Puchero means pot or stew, and in some regions of Spain (especially Castilla y León which is where we're based) it's used to define a traditional way of brewing coffee, which is basically brewing the coffee in a big pot over the fire and then filter it with a cloth or "calcetín" (sock). So, the idea was to use an old and traditional word for something so "new and revolutionary" like specialty coffee.
How do you choose your coffees?
We source our beans from pretty much every producing region possible. We don't necessarily have a preference for the origin or the type of coffee, it rather comes down to something as simple as "we select the coffees that we fall in love with". We spend a lot of our time cupping lots of coffees, all the new crops, different varieties, and processing methods and we select what stands out on the cupping table. We seem to be doing something right, as feedback from our customers is great!
But you do have some preferences, right?
We always try to offer washed coffees as well as one of two naturals or honeys. Lately, our naturals have been very popular as we seem to consistently source and roast well these types of very intense and fruit-forward coffees.
How would you describe the specialty coffee scene is Spain?
The specialty coffee scene in Spain is finally growing! It’s still extremely small compared to most Northern and Eastern European countries, but the trend is here to stay.
How do you contribute to it?
We're only a handful of roasters, but we're doing such a great job and creating a good and healthy community around us.
What pleases us the most is seeing that Spanish roasters are becoming a prominent feature in lots of coffee shops around the world. I honestly think that, in a very humble and non-pretentious way, the coffees coming out of Spain lately are among the best in Europe.
Events such as coffee festivals and championships are becoming more and more popular, but most importantly the number of specialty coffee shops is growing. It first started in Barcelona, but Madrid is catching up really quickly! The next challenge is specialty coffee becoming more common in smaller cities and provinces.
So, in short, it's a great moment to be part of this inspiring movement and breathing the air of one of the most exciting coffee scenes around! We're really proud to be able to contribute to it by roasting the best coffees we can and helping out everyone who wants to set up a new specialty coffee shop.