Valencia is an old city with a youthful, energetic heart. That dynamic seeps into the city’s coffee culture, with the classics available right alongside the latest filtration methods. Here’s how to get your day started the right way at some of Valencia’s best coffee shops.
Ordering a coffee in Spain requires the right lingo. Although there are globally recognised brands homogenising the grande and venti, it’s “café solo” if you want an espresso, “café con leche” for a latte, and “café con hielo” for the highly necessary iced coffee in the summer months. Just like with the food, Valencia’s reputation for culinary innovation extends to coffee as well. If you want to try something authentic when you’re visiting the city, ask for a “café bombón”, which is half espresso, half sweetened condensed milk. Some of you may know that this is now a common drink across Spain, but it originated right here in Valencia.
Despite being packed with excellent tourist sites, cafés in Valencia often retain a certain local vibe to them. There’s a fresh new edge to the coffee scene in Valencia as well, with hip, creative hangouts offering global, single-origin coffees and excellent pour-over brews amid calm, leafy settings. It’s easy to escape the din of the city and get your caffeine fix in one fell swoop. Whichever way you take it, you’ll not have to go far to find great coffee in Valencia. Here are five great coffee shops to keep in mind.
Bluebell Coffee Roasters for charming settings and excellent coffee
One of Valencia’s most popular coffee shops is Bluebell in the trendy Russafa district. This really is the place to go for the most discerning coffee lovers, especially if you know your Aeropress from your V60 (both of which are available). Bluebell Coffee Roasters, as the name suggests, roast their own beans, which are sourced primarily from a farm in the Dominican Republic. This DIY, holistic, fair-trade approach to coffee puts this spot right at the forefront of the coffee scene and demonstrates the type of conscientious business practice that should be the norm, not the exception elsewhere in the world. Bluebell also offers great food, with the brunch menu being particularly popular with regulars.
Carrer de Buenos Aires, 3
Café de las Horas for a café fit for an Old City
From the faux-Baroque interior decor to the midnight blue ceiling decorated with golden stars, Café de las Horas gets on board with the Old City’s tone, adding whimsical flair. Situated in the thick of the tourist action, with the Cathedral-adjacent Plaza de la Virgen only 50 metres (164 feet) away, this is a great place to go for a coffee before sightseeing, or to wind down with a cocktail to reward a good day of exploration. The tea selection here is excellent, with both loose leaf and infusion options, even including the smoky Lapsang Souchong. The coffee selection ranges from local classics like café bombón to alcohol-infused global concoctions, such as an Irish coffee or the Prague, which is mixed with brandy, cocoa and vanilla.
Carrer del Comte d’Almodóvar, 1
Los Picos for simple, effective coffee
Proving that Russafa really is the place to go for the best coffee in Valencia, Los Picos is a modest little spot that does excellent breakfasts and lunches and tends to close fairly early. There are usually just a few options available on their menu board, with blends or single-origin beans from South America ground freshly into delicious lattes or espressos. Space inside is at a premium but there is some simple outdoor seating available. Their snacks and sandwiches are highly recommended too, served on chewy, lightly toasted sourdough bread. There are decent options for vegetarians and a couple for vegans here.
Plaça de Manuel Granero, 20
Mayan Coffees for the full farm to cup experience
Out on the western edge of the Old City, close to Valencia Botanical Garden, is the unanimously popular Mayan Coffees, a company with its own coffee farm in Guatemala. The interior is a pastiche of minimalist wood and burlap coffee bags, interspersed with posters of Maya ruins at places like Tikal. Huge sacks full of coffee beans are often piled up in one corner of the shop and you can buy them whole or ground to take away as well. While it’s always a bit too subjective to award a café the best coffee in Valencia gong, there are plenty of people who’d swear that Mayan Coffees is fully deserving of the title.
Carrer de Murillo, 54
Retrogusto Coffeemates for specialty coffee in a food market
It’d be unwise for any self-respecting food and/or coffee lover to ignore Valnecia’s Mercat Central (Central Market). This is one of Spain’s best food markets, with a fantastic range of high-quality food, cakes and indeed coffees on sale from various vendors. Retrogusto Coffeemates is one such example, and their prices may well be the best in the city for this quality of coffee. They do an excellent flat white, for those that like a little more oomph in their cup, as well as all the various forms of filtered coffee, including the science lab-esque syphon coffee.
Mercat Central, Plaza Ciudad de Brujas s/n, Palcos 169 y 170
by Paul Stafford