My parents created the Cafés El Magnífico brand in 1962, on the foundations of the colonial store that my grandfather had opened in 1919. They worked hard and the quality of their coffee brought them great appraisal in the neighbourhood of La Ribera (El Borne) and throughout the city of Barcelona.
1987 was a key year in the evolution of the business. I had been working for several years in the roaster and had already grown to love coffee and the trade when the opportunity arose to meet Mr. Philippe Jobin in Le Havre. Mr. Philippe Jobin was a famous importer of fine coffees, a tireless traveller and author of a reference book in the coffee sector. That meeting led to an initial first purchase of fine coffees of various origins that we began to sell with traceability. Two years later we opened the store on Calle Argenteria in La Ribera where since then we have roasted a careful selection of great coffees.
In 2018 Cafés El Magnífico acquired the historic La Portorriqueña roaster in Barcelona, a company founded in 1906. We are extremely proud to continue this historic business that represents a piece of the history of coffee in Barcelona and in particular of the emblematic trade of the Raval neighbourhood.
In recent decades, the world of coffee has evolved exponentially. One of the most relevant milestones was the creation of the prestigious Cup of Excellence competition, born with the aim of drawing attention to the finest coffee growers and their coffees, awarding them recognition with prices much higher than those on the market and splitting with economic systems that impeded their growth.
In 2002 I took part in various competitions as an International Tasting Judge, convinced of the value, opportunity and significance that the Cup of Excellence represents, and I have been returning regularly ever since. I have been similarly involved in the Best of Panama, a competition where the famous Geishacoffee became known to the world.
Coffee has granted me these and many other marvellous opportunities, allowing me to travel to incredible places and meet wonderful people all over the world.
In the year 1996, Cafés El Magnífico took a further step in its commitment to the dissemination of the history and culture of coffee, co-founding a non-profit association called The Forum Cultural del Café alongside five other coffee roasters. I have been President of this association on two occasions, and have participated in multiple Boards of Directors. Today this association is a benchmark for all professionals in the coffee business, bringing together a major part of the Specialty Coffee sector.
I never lose sight of the values my parents instilled in me, values of hard work and service that I strive to transmit to the next generation who are already taking up the reins at Cafés El Magnífico. I trust in these standards and in the importance of always keeping an open mind to the shifts and innovations that continuously present themselves, to keep our family business at the cutting-edge of the coffee trade.
Salvador Sans Velasco