Jordi is the roaster and barista for Nømad Coffee. Nømad started as a coffee cart in London, and it’s now one of the few places that offers specialty coffee in Barcelona. Previously, he worked as a coffee roaster in Nude Espresso, a third wave coffee roaster in London and has been the Spanish barista champion two times.
Hi Jordi! How did you get into coffee?
I started working in coffee by chance. I lived in London for several years. At that time, I was working in pubs at night but loved the vibe of the morning coffee shops. One day, the space right next to the pub I was working emptied out, and I managed to convince my boss to start a coffee shop there. That’s how everything started.
“As roasters and baristas, we have a huge responsibility knowing the big effort that goes in origin to deliver great quality beans.”
Most of the coffee you find in Barcelona tastes bitter and burnt. However, yours is fruity and sweet. What are the differences between your coffee and a commercial one?
Coffee is a very special product. It is said it goes through 15 hands from when it’s harvested until we drink it. The quality of the green coffee beans is the key. Commercial roasters burn their coffee because of the poor quality of their raw material. Same thing happens with tomatoes. There are flavourful tomatoes, and others that taste like nothing. Not much can be done if the raw material is poor. As roasters and baristas, we have a huge responsibility knowing the big effort that goes in origin to deliver great quality beans.
“I get scared whenever I see a latte + pastry morning special for 1,5 euros. It’s suspiciously cheap.”
Coffee roasters are not the last ones to deal with coffee. Quality will depend ultimately on the barista. What’s your philosophy when selling your coffee to other coffee shops?
That’s right. Someone else will handle the coffee after it’s roasted, and the final cup will depend on him. That’s the coffee roaster’s paradox. As a roaster, it is impossible to control the end of the process. That’s why it’s very difficult for me to sell coffee to certain coffee shops. Many people don’t understand the importance of a good coffee machine, a decent grinder, and a water filtration system. Water is 90% of the cup. If the water is not good, then it’s impossible to get a good cup of coffee. I prefer to sell my beans only to those people who understand and appreciate the product.
“It will take a long time to have filter coffee introduced as a regular drink in Spain. Here in Nømad I only have one local client who comes regularly to drink filter coffee.”
You started Nømad in London, where you lived for several years. During your period over there you also worked at Nude, an established specialty coffee roaster in the city.
How do you compare the London and Barcelona coffee scenes?
Our legislation is the main difference. Unfortunately, here everything is more complicated. It’s ridiculous to have to pay a 50,000 euro license in order to sell just coffee and croissants. Our current legislation doesn’t support new, independent initiatives like Nømad.
At the same time, people in London understand that quality deserves a higher price. I think Starbucks helped a lot since people were already paying 3,5 euros for a regular cup of coffee. However, only tourists go to Starbucks in Barcelona. It’s very hard for local people to pay 2 euros for a specialty coffee, since they’ve been always paying 1,20 for a conventional one. I get scared whenever I see a latte + pastry morning special for 1,5 euros. It’s suspiciously cheap.
There’s currently an emerging craft food scene in London. Could you recommend to us any artisan in particular?
I would definitely recommend E5 Bakery. It’s a great project created by young people. I love their concept. Besides having a wonderful bakery, they’ve created a small craft food community. You can buy a loaf of bread at their shop, ask to get it sliced, eat some with homemade jam, and take the rest home. Their multigrain loaf is the best I’ve ever tasted. Last time I was in London I took one home.
Talking again about coffee, what’s your favorite extraction method?
I love to taste the coffee and appreciate its tasting notes. That is much easier with filter coffee. I choose the extraction method depending on the coffee and the qualities I want to highlight. Aeropress, V60, Kalita, French Press, Clever, cupping… basically all except for the espresso and the Moka pot. I’m not a siphon fan. I think it’s more of a show rather than a good extraction method. Same with Chemex, which I find is inconvenient.
Spain is a country with a strong espresso tradition. Do you think filter coffee will be a popular choice some day?
90-95% of the people that look for specialty coffee buy Lattes, Flat Whites or Cappuccinos. It’s very difficult to taste the subtleness of the origin in milk-based drinks, but it’s what people demand. They look for consistency. It will take a long time to have filter coffee introduced as a regular drink in Spain. Here in Nømad I only have one local client who comes regularly to drink filter coffee.
Coffee, like wine, has different tasting notes depending on things such as the coffee origin or the variety. What is the most peculiar flavor you’ve tasted in a coffee?
J: I’ve tried African coffees that tasted like chive. I also remember I tasted sweet tomato soup in a Kenyan coffee for the first time at a Kaffa seminar (The Collaborative Coffee Souls) in Paris. I was completely shocked!
What’s your favorite moment in the day?
J: I love to be in the shop and meet new people. When I was in London training for the barista championship with Rob and Vic (DunneFrankowski), I used to spend many hours at their shop talking to interesting people. I loved that. I am in a very specialized industry. We are coffee purists. That attracts very special people from many different fields, and the result is a wide group of people having interesting conversations.
Could you please share one of those conversations or situations?
A few months ago a couple from Portland visited my shop. They had quit their jobs in an advertising agency in the U.S. and were travelling around the world. They spent 3 months in Barcelona and were regulars in my shop during their stay. One day, the guy visited me and told me that he would like to propose to his girlfriend in Nømad since it was the place that most reminded them of their hometown. Of course I accepted! Miquel from Muremino chocolates and I prepared a spectacular dinner. It was beautiful. This one will be difficult to beat!
Passatge Sert, 08003 Barcelona
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