Moving Abroad for Coffee Part 1

Moving Abroad for Coffee Part 1

It’s been almost one and a half year ago that I moved to Barcelona. To start a new adventure and to be part of another coffee culture. This wasn’t something I decided on a sunny afternoon or after a good night of sleep. It took me almost a month to make the decision to leave everything behind. Welcome to my story, welcome to my specialty coffee and travel blog. This story starts with a bit unstable job and the ending of a long relationship. With the feeling that I could go everywhere. I didn’t need to stay in my city any longer, or in my country. I really wanted to experience a different coffee culture.

Just go

After thinking, dreaming and talking with other people about my idea, I made the decision. I was going to do this! My idea was to go to Barcelona for the summer and if I liked it there I could stay longer. To be honest I was wearing pink glasses. Didn’t saw any bears on the road, because I already spoke a bit of Spanish, had a lot of work experience and I had some savings. Well, my Spanish turned out to be shit. I could ask for small things, but to really express myself was very difficult. Imagine asking for a job. And do the job. I brought my curriculum to a lot of places, but I didn’t know how it actually works in Spain. That you have to know someone somewhere. Otherwise they will never call you back. Even if you have tons of experience. Next to that there was not really a coffee culture, not a big third wave yet. It was hard to find a decent coffee and the first month I was really devastated. What did I do. I gave up my job as Cafe Manager and Barista in a very nice espresso bar. For what?

It took me some research on the internet but after a month I had my first good coffee, at Nømad Coffee. I was so happy to talk about coffee with someone who exactly understood coffee and who knew what is a barista. Till today I still have to explain to some Spanish people that I make coffee for living. All day long. But it’s getting better. From that first awesome cortado in Barcelona I started to believe in my dream again and in the growing specialty coffee culture in Barcelona.

My first job in Barcelona was as a receptionist in a hostel. I think I got really lucky. Found it just in one month and the owner and my colleagues helped me so much with fixing papers. Till today I am happy and thankful the owner gave me this job. Maybe it was not a job as a barista, but at least I had a job. A nice one and this gave me the opportunity to stay in Barcelona and keep looking for a job with coffee.

Back to be a Barista

This job came my way at the end of December. After returning to The Netherlands in November for a small holiday I decided that something needed to change. If I really wanted a job as barista I need to put more energy. I needed a kick in the ass. In one week I found three open positions and two of them called me back in less than a week. I choose to work for Costa Coffee, in the commercial coffee industry. They were just starting the franchise here in Barcelona. I had the opportunity to go to Malta for a training of a month. This all happened in January 2015. Couldn’t wish for a better start of the year. Even though I already had a lot of experience, I still have learned a lot. My main goal for this training was to show the best version of myself and as a barista. It worked. I look back with proudness to this month. Another goal was to be better in latte art, which I completed. After this month I could make tulips (which sells very good if you are a Dutch girl, I noticed).

To be honest I still struggle with my Spanish. I did some courses in The Netherlands and started here in Barcelona. After starting the job as a receptionist it was hard to combine so I stopped. With the intention to keep on studying by myself and learn it during my daily life. I completely failed on this. I talked, still talking, too much in English. People here like to speak with me in English so they can practice. And Im not complaining.I can help myself out in Spanish. Maybe it’s because I know I don’t want to stay here forever, so I got a bit lazy with the language.

My adventure started a bit difficult, but I think this is normal. You have to get used to the culture, fixing all the papers, make new friends and find a job. Starting from zero is hard, but it made me stronger and more independent. I didn’t expect it would be easy. Now I have my life fixed here and I feel more comfortable day by day. Of course I still have days I don’t know why I moved and gave everything up, but for now I can’t picture myself somewhere else. I have a job as a barista and nice people around me in a beautiful city. And from January another dream will come true. I made promotion and I will start as a Trainer Assistant. Training new baristas. Sharing my passion and knowledge.

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