October 25, 2018
Santiago Rigoni (Toma café)
Seasonal coffee, unprecedented blends, constant research and evolution on coffee, as well as how to serve it; it starts with an unwavering commitment to origin and the most exhaustive search for the best roast adapted to the needs of each restaurant client.
Rigoni is a coffee fan who left the world of advertising to become a standard of this new age in which coffee finds itself within the context of today’s gastronomy. His company, Toma Café, started out in the neighbourhood of Malasaña, in a space where, little by little, connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike discovered the seriousness of his commitment to a new coffee culture.
Born in Argentina and an ‘adopted son’ of Madrid, he is a specialist who works with small batches of coffee selected from different parts of the world; he is responsible for its roasting and uses the system that best suits each batch. Far from any industrial idea we might have in our heads about what coffee is, he searches for unusual coffees, for experiences which are different and attractive, leading us to taste a product that sidesteps the automatic way we usually think about it. He achieves it by working with suppliers that are not mainstream ones and who are able to deliver special coffees from selected varieties and production areas.
A 21st-century barista, he is like a fish in the water in today’s new world of coffee, bringing his own dose of responsibility and creativity to what is starting to become a fundamental trend that, in a few years, will involve everyone linked to gastronomy.
His coffees are rooted in a principle of social responsibility with the growers themselves; a clear awareness that the first to benefit from the quality of an increasingly select foodstuff must be the people who actually cultivate it. This extends to details that might seem anecdotal, such as the fact that his coffees are always delivered by bicycle in Madrid, reflecting, as a whole, a philosophy and how to live in this world.
Rigoni offers, in addition to the coffees served at his two Madrid premises – the first in Malasaña, the second next to the Plaza de Olavide – training courses for baristas, specializations in how to serve espresso and filtered coffee, and training in the ephemeral art that in the English-speaking world is now called ‘latte art’.
Micro-roasting, a believer in unwashed coffee, a promoter of the decontextualization of coffee that allows this product to leave the bar and become part of any ritual or social space, Rigoni is coffee for the 21st century.
By Miguel Ángel Rincón