You cannot, I repeat cannot, get a bad cup of coffee in Spain. Bianco and I spent 20 days traveling from Madrid, down through Andalusia and then on to Turkey. Nothing like getting out of your daily rut and your home country to get perspective on things. So before I go on and on about the historic and artistic sites, sometimes the most memorable things are found in the mundane, like your morning brew.
Whether its in a corner bar/deli joint, a five star restaurant, or a deserted rest stop on the A4. Coffee is Spain is excellent. Consistently excellent. How is quality control maintained across an entire country, I do not know. But it is. My perception of Spain had been somewhat skewed in that a couple of friends who had traveled there complained at how bad the food was (compared to Italy or France) as well as the European financial crisis with Spain perched on ruin I was expecting a country in an economic and culinary mess. However, none of this was evident to us. Whether walking in crowded cities, touring historical sites, or driving the highways, everything seemed immaculate and organized. And while we didn’t get to explore many nuevo restaurants run by hot young chefs touted by Anthony Bourdain and trained under Ferran Adrià, we did manage to eat very well off the beaten path.
Spain like Italy is a coffee culture, where a shot of espresso (with or without milk) is enjoyed in a ceramic cup—at the bar. A strong tasteful brew is sipped in one sitting and within 15 minutes you are on your way. A leisure yet efficient method of caffination to start your day that doesn’t have you running to the toilet to alleviant that 18 oz of Starbucks you nursed on your way to work.
Its kind of ironic that the founder of Starbucks, who was originally inspired by the small cafes of Italy, created the “Big Gulp” of coffee. American coffee culture is designed to amp us up on an absurd amount of caffeine while we are on the run. I don’t actually blame Starbucks for the supersizing of coffee, its part of our fast-food overindulgence in things in general, Starbucks wouldn't have succeeded as an Italian cafe. And to be honest, Starbucks is still the go-to for free wifi,