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Spain’s best coffee? Get your shot at La Palma’s award-winning hotspot

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Powered<span id= by Guardian.co.uk” width=”140″ height=”45″ />This article titled “Spain’s best coffee? Get your shot at La Palma’s award-winning hotspot” was written by Richard Mellor, for The Guardian on Wednesday 18th January 2017 12.45 UTC

La Palma is the unlikely home of one of Spain’s best baristas. Though hiking and stargazing in this most northwesterly Canary Island have been heralded, it has never flickered on the coffee scene. Yet in a cool courtyard off handsome Calle Pérez de Brito in its tiny capital, Santa Cruz, is El Cafe de Don Manuel, owned by one Rayco Rodriguez.

Rayco Rodriguez, owner of El Cafe de Don Manuel, which as won several awards for its coffee, holds up a cup of espresso.
Rayco Rodriguez

Since he set up shop two years ago, this gentle giant has been collecting coffee awards. Displayed alongside some enticing cakes, Rayco’s most notable trophies include one for best espresso at the Spanish Barista Championship in 2015, and another for being among 2016’s top three baristas nationwide.

His signature brew is a Canaries-style barraquito: milky coffee with cinnamon, lemon peel and citrussy liqueur. Served in bubbly, pepper-mill-shaped glasses, it has distinct layers, each a different shade of caramel, and costs €1.90. Those acclaimed espressos are just 90 cents.

Quality is assured, too: the 100% arabica beans hail from Hacienda Supracafe on south-west Colombia’s high Popayán plateau. Supracafe is a Spanish firm committed as much to improving the lives of its coffee-growing stakeholders – via training and house-building – as to its organic, top-notch production.

El Cafe de Don Manuel counter. La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.

Back in La Palma, all of Rayco’s eight tables are taken by late morning. Above them, great ferns dangle from rafters and the courtyard’s wooden balconies – typical of Santa Cruz – give off a smoky aroma.

And Don Manuel? That’ll be Rayco’s late grandfather, who taught him to value agriculture and sustainability – hence the Colombia project.
Calle Pérez de Brito 2, on Facebook. Open Mon-Fri 8am-2pm and 4.30pm-8.30pm, Sat-Sun 9am-2pm

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