The 2nd edition of the Independent Barcelona Coffee Festival (IBCF) took place 5-6th May in the Catalonian capital. I experienced this event as a volunteer, and had the chance to re-discover the growing Spanish coffee scene from the inside.

Independent Barcelona Coffee Festival

photo – Laia Sabaté

A festival showcasing the local coffee scene

The IBCF was created by the All Those collective, whose aim is to promote locally-sourced and craft food entrepreneurs in Barcelona, through their seasonal festival and events, their website, and maps of the city, along with four local cafés and speciality roasters (Satan’s Coffee Corner, Skye Coffee, Nømad Coffee & Right Side Coffee). They had a clear idea: setting up a coffee event to showcase and support the local emerging coffee scene. The IBCF was born in spring 2016!

The best of Spanish speciality coffee

Taking place in a warehouse in the hip Poblenou neighbourhood, the festival gathers the best of the Spanish speciality coffee scene in a city that is still quite new to third-wave coffee. With gourmet street food, local craft beer and design stalls, the festival essentially highlights the tremendous work of the national speciality coffee scene, from the fast-rising number of roasters (they were eleven this year) to its skilled baristas.

International Barcelona Coffee Festival

photo – Ricard López

Professional and attracting an important international crowd, the IBCF remains open to all, giving a chance to learn about speciality coffee and experience the variety of the vibrant Spanish coffee scene, presented in a casual environment.

Two days for the professionals and the wide public

This year, the festival was split over two days: Friday, aimed at the coffee professional, and Saturday, the main day of the festival. The stars and the main attraction during the whole event were the eleven best national roasters that made countless café solos & cortados at the centrally staged espresso bar made of four machines. A novelty of the year was filter coffee served at the largest brew bar I have ever seen. With five brew methods available (Aeropress, V60, clever dripper, French press and batch brew), it all worked very smoothly even at peak times thanks to the skilled baristas.

International Barcelona Coffee Festival

photo – Ricard López

The industry day

The industry day featured several giant cuppings by the best European green coffee buyers (Nordic Approach, Mare Terra, 32cup) and in-depth professional talks on calibration, marketing strategy, roast profiling, water filtration and more. This was an incredible opportunity for networking, as well as drinking plenty of tasty coffees all day long. An epic latte art throwdown (using Oatly barista milk and organised by La Cherry) closed the day before heading to dinner in the city centre.

International Barcelona Coffee Festival

photo – Marta Fernández

International Barcelona Coffee Festival

photo – Rita Puig Serra

The public day

Saturday, the public-day, was a busy, buzzing day with even more coffee, new talks & home-brewing workshops by the best European professionals (Kaffikaze, La Marzocco, Caffènation, SHIFT social impact solution), cuppings and tastings of wine and cheese, more artisan food and two bars, including one facing a large sunny outside area. There, locally sourced craft beers and natural wines helped to cure any caffeine overdoses. The weekend was kicked off nicely!

International Barcelona Coffee Festival

photo – Rita Puig Serra

With 6000 attendees and top-level activities throughout the two days, the IBCF 2017 made a real effort to support independent businesses and local products in a city that is fully embracing the speciality coffee culture. The festival was not only a success, it also demonstrated how dynamic, professional yet unpretentious and fun the Spanish coffee scene is. I am already looking forward to next year!