It’s early, 9am, but Jordi has been here in the coffee shop since 7:30 prepping; cleaning grinders, bottling his cold brew coffee and sampling the beans he’s roasted. Nomad Coffee is small; no tables, just the wooden bar and a few stools. The walls are lined with empty bottles that designer Red Pappa has created for his cold brew, with coffee grinders, beans, mugs and in the centre of it all, a poster describing the flavours of the bean.
In the corner is Jordi’s bicycle and a green bench, and apart from the construction noise outside the window, Vampire Weekend streams through the speakers and he offers me an espresso, “Try this,” he says. “It’s from a sample of beans I’ve roasted.” I take a sip and it’s clean and syrupy and all the things you hope for in a coffee.
This isn’t a typical field of work. How did you get into coffee?
It was an accident. I was working at a pub in London some evenings and weekends. In the afternoons after class I’d escape to these little coffee shops scattered all over London. And the coffee shops in London aren’t like they are here [in Spain]. They’re cool, there are young people and there’s always an amazing vibe and some really good coffee. I was so excited about the idea of a coffee shop that I mentioned it to my boss, like, “Hey, why don’t we set up a coffee shop?”
I was lucky because my boss knew a lot of people so it was easy to start successful right away. He also owned a few commercial units next to the pub, so after a few months of construction and design we opened up our own shop.
My dad also worked in coffee but I was never really interested in what he was saying. I took a few training courses and classes on coffee and we just kind of went from there.
Ok, let’s back track a little. You’re from Barcelona and studied here, how did you make it to London?
Like everyone in Barcelona, I studied design, Product Design, but I never really liked it. I was at the point in my life, 21 years old, where after graduation it was either go back home and live with my parents or go out and study and live on my own. So I went to London to study Furniture Restoration and Design while taking English classes.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s just graduated or trying to figure out their career?
You know, I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’ve never had a CV. In London, especially in creative fields, you have to go out. Don’t be afraid or timid. Go out and have a drink, meet people, talk, network, exchange ideas. It’s the best way to get to know a city, to open doors to new opportunities and to meet really extraordinary people. All my jobs I’ve found through networking.
Other than networking, do you have any other tips or pieces of advice?
Travel a lot if you can, go somewhere different and experience something new whenever possible. In London, everyone is from abroad and you’ll just meet the most amazing people with incredible stories. Learn from them, from their experiences.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Competing in 2012 and 2013 and becoming the barista champion of Spain. It’s not so much about the competition, but the experience and the people I’ve met. Because of these competitions, I’ve gotten international recognition and this brings me more opportunities and chances to grow.
It’s almost 10 o’clock and Nomad Coffee is getting busy. There are a few people sitting at the bar and you can tell some of them are regulars; talking to Jordi about new roasts and holiday plans.
You’re getting busy! One last question: You’re stuck on an island, what are the 3 things you have with you?
Company, a knife, and olive oil.
Jordi’s passion and love for what he does illuminate in his work; in the coffee he creates, the design of his shop and the closeness he has with customers. With a lot of passion, hard work and determination anything is possible and there are no limits to our dreams, no matter how farfetched they seem. Take Jordi’s advice with you wherever you go; don’t be afraid to network, to exchange ideas, to discover your passions.
Thank you Ben Sellon for the marvelous photographs.