What's Wrong with Spanish Coffee? 😥☕

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Something is very wrong with Spanish coffee. If you buy a pack of coffee in the supermarket, or a café solo in a bar, it too often tastes like acrid burnt rubber. Want to know why? In this video I delve into the mysterious world of torrefacto! So venga, let’s go! 🥝

⏩ Watch Next: Eat Like a Local in Spain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqFHyZn1Kyw&list=PLWoKRXwP0XnKbQEEKLizFF60sNzgRVACP

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When I first moved to Spain in 2011, I would buy all my coffee at the supermarket. But it never tasted very good. It always had this acrid, bitter flavour. I drink my coffee black, and I found the stuff I was buying and drinking in bars almost undrinkable. It was like burnt rubber.

And then one day I looked a little closer at the coffee packet. And I noticed this common word, “mezcla”. I knew that mezcla meant mix or blend. But I thought – a blend of what? So I read further, and then I started seeing this word “torrefacto”. I had no idea what it was, but I suspected it had to do with what was going on with the coffee in this country.

So I started investigating further, and I discovered that torrefacto is a process that is applied to coffee beans sold in Spain that make the coffee taste, well, horrible. How the tradition got started is connected to the civil war. And why we still drink torrefacto coffee in Spain is about tradition, and, well, habit.

In this video I explain what torrefacto is, do a taste testing with my wife Yoly, and head to Toma Cafe to get a good cup of coffee!

Below is a list of great coffee places in Madrid:
Toma Café (Malasaña)
Toma Café (Chamberi)
Cafe Tornasol (Antón Martín market)
Zero Point (Lavaiés)
HanSo Café (Malasaña)
Coffee & Kicks (near Puerta del Sol

Hola, Spain lovers! We’re James and Yoly. James is a New Zealander, and Yoly is from Spain. And we both live in Madrid. This channel is all about giving you a local insight into life in Spain, and helping you experience this country like a local when you come to visit (or live!). If that sounds like your kind of thing, bienvenido!

*This description contains affiliate links which means we may earn a commission if you use them 🙏🏻


Spain Revealed says:

When I first moved to Spain, I couldn't figure out what the coffee tasted so bad. So I did a little investigating. And that lead me to the mysterious world of torrefacto. Have you tried coffee in Spain? What did you think? Let me know in the comment below – I'm very curious!

Kristina Engan says:


Heena Mulchandani says:

Yoly is so cute <3

betterName says:

ok.. very interesting. when I first went to Spain, I kept ordering cafe con leche, because it was the most perfect delicious coffee I had ever tasted.. interesting. I'll definitely pay attention to that next time when in Spain.

itube0047 says:

I am 2:30 in, and this plays out like a crime show! Haha 🙂

John Clark says:

Great stuff never realised why I always preferred Nescafe when living in Toledo Valencia & Jerez.. Thought it was me being fussy👍👍👍🥰🥰🥰🥰

lauce3 says:

This video open my eyes, I didn't know that the coffee in my country. Not to torrefacto!.

Brett Hill says:

Try coffee and kicks in Madrid. Only place I found in the main centre that I could get a good espresso

Janet Lombardi says:

What a great informative video. I'm very much a coffee lover so will certainly be looking out for the right blend. Thank you for sharing

Isobel Matheson says:

Nooo! I love the coffee here in Spain – I have had very few bad ones. There's a cafe in my village that makes The Most Delicious coffee, super strong but hot, fresh, and fabulous. All for 1 euro. Mind you, after UK coffee, anything is good.

Cecilia Charon says:

Lol..that was a funny opening🤣

ch0k3 p01nt says:

Oh, tastes. burnt and bitter, kind of like Starbucks. I can relate.

StevieSpain D says:

Hi James, just stumbled on your channel, been bingeing on your vids. Excellent stuff 🙂
I lived in Spain for about 14 years and often wondered why about, mebbe, 10% of Bar/Restaurant coffee wasn't as good as the rest. Now I know!
And, I used to think that Spanish coffee was the best in the world, until I went to Rome! Yes, 3 times the price, but man, it is seriously awesome coffee!

Bryan Jensen says:

Worked in market research for Colombian Coffee Federation while living in Madrid. You're on to an important topic w/ torrefacto (and 100% arabica is not a 100% certain quality standard) yet I disagree that there is a distinctly unique problem to Spanish coffee compared to, say, the USA, where there aren't always high standards of supermarket pre-roast/pre-ground either. Many consumers over the Millennial age aren't buying for high quality-signaling features like single bean origins, high crop and roast freshness standards, etc. But those trends are changing, in Spain and the USA. And among Spanish bars, there is also wide quality divergences (though not as high standards as Austria or France), but in my experience the standard outside of mainstream franchises was generally far better than the USA.

falcon 3s says:

Spanish coffee bad? Madre mia…que dice? OK got you with this blend…

Mar Casabuena says:

El torrefacto es un horror, eso te pone el pelo rubio.🥴🤢

Varun Silochan says:

This makes sense, I do remember my first taste of coffee in Madrid being wah?! Don't forget that robusta has a much higher caffeine content than arabica. So while bitter and less refined than arabica, some drinkers (like me) may like a blend for more of a kick. Excellent informative vid as usual!

Plandemio NOM says:

I am a normal average Spanish and I have tried to return to 100% natural coffee and I have not been able to, at least it must be 30% roasted or it is dirty water.

Cerebrotes says:

¡Qué interesante! Thank you, James. I'm Spanish and I'm doing some research about coffee for a podcast and I didn't know what torrefacto was!

Ruben Gonzalez says:

I love this explanation. Did not know.

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