Shortly after we moved to Girona we learned that our apartment was across the street from the apartment that had been occupied by Lance Armstrong, the famous American cyclist and infamous doper. He had lived in Girona for several years and trained in the varied landscape—including mountains, hills, and coastal paths—outside the town. As a result, Girona became one of the training hubs for professional cyclists, and every day we see professional and would-be professional racers, dressed in skin-tight spandex, riding around town. Several professional cyclists live in our apartment building on Carrer Nou (“The New Street”—that’s because it is only a few hundred years old).
This year one of the professional cyclists and his wife opened a coffee shop and are offering the finest brews available in Girona. We hurried over to try their wares. Christian and Amber Meier are a young Canadian couple and coffee and cycling are their passions. When Christian isn’t off racing for Orica-Greenedge you can find him behind the counter in La Fábrica (The Factory). Here he offers advice and prepares his favorite brews for a clientele that is partly professional cyclists, partly serious amateurs, and partly coffee-loving civilians, like us. Girona has a lively tourist trade that caters to cyclists who want to ride on all those trails and mingle with the pros.
By the way, if you order a cup of coffee anywhere in Spain you almost always get espresso. If you want anything like American coffee you must ask for an “Americano,” which is a cup of espresso diluted with hot water. But La Fábrica offers more variety than other restaurants and bars. Their menu includes such gourmet items as “pour overs.” Plus, you can get your cuppa made with beans from a variety of countries, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, or Brazil.
The ambiance of La Fábrica is somewhere between a bicycle shop and a high-end coffee bar that also sells espresso gear. There are bikes everywhere, and you can even ride in and park your bike inside. There is a large community table where cyclists share stories while the rest of us soak in the atmosphere.
Amber, who was a barista in Vancouver before the couple married, is the proprietor of the store and the resident baker of delicous power bars and cakes. She greets all her customers with a cheery smile and seems genuinely happy to see you back. She is a coffee expert, and Christian is in charge of the roasting (yes, they oversee roasting their own beans and sell them by the package). If you are a real coffee fan you can buy the latest gadgets to grind and prepare your brew, such as Chemex and AeroPress, plus coconut oil to make your bulletproof coffee (see my post on the subject HERE). No, they don’t sell performance-enhancing drugs—unless you consider a latte a performance enhancer!
It’s too bad that Lance isn’t here any more. If he were, he would be hanging out at La Fábrica for sure.
If you want to read a review of La Fábrica that has just appeared in the Guardian click HERE.