**** Meanwhile, Karen and Enrike decided to go separate ways. While Karen continues with the brand Cafe Salar, Enrike founded a new company. ****
Enrike Salar Llompart and Karen Bragagnolo, the team behind Cafe Salar, about the art of making good coffee
My first encounter with Cafe Salar was at the end of a wonderful dinner in a fancy restaurant. The café solo was just perfect, and I could have happily said yes to the question written on the cup: „Are you Salar?“. On that occasion, I learned about the Mallorca Coffee Company and its founder, Enrike Salar. His father had already been trading coffee so he grew up with the manifold of coffee beans and the strong dark drink so present in our everyday lives. Consequently, he apprenticed as a barista and established his own brand, Cafe Salar, about ten years ago. Karen Bragagnolo was one of the founders – today, she and Enrike are the ones who run Salar. I met them in their office, a converted garage just off Palma’s Avenidas – and was treated with a wonderful espresso made by Enrike, first of all.
Your coffee tastes delicious. What is it, that makes Cafe Salar so special?
Enrike: I’m born and raised on the island, so I love good food and wine. For me, a meal always closes with a coffee, it’s the last impression you have of it, so you want it to be just perfect. Therefore, one of our main goals was to establish a coffee culture on the island. It took a while to create an awareness for it, but in the end it came. And we have been constantly improving our own blends so they meet the highest standard. All our customers have high end food, so naturally they want a high end coffee.
Karen: In the beginning, Enrike started to give coffee courses, to show our customers how a decent coffee looks and tastes like. An espresso needs 7 gr of coffee and 30 ml water with exactly 92º temperature – and just that, continuously. Plus a professional coffee machine which is maintained regularly. So we developed a special system for our customers: We deliver the coffee, check and clean their machines, and help with everything else in this regard – on a weekly basis. Actually, Enrike is the face of it all, it’s him taking care personally.
The Salar Route with all the restaurants that serve your coffee is very impressive.
Enrike: That’s true, its quite a ways around the island. There are also a few retail stores that sell Salar coffee – Las Gracias for example, the lovely store just next to Santa Eulalia. And we have other plans in mind: in the first place, I would really love to have my own small coffee shop here in Palma. Like the guys from La Molienda – they are doing a great job!
Karen: And then we are working on a permit to introduce a mobile coffee truck. So we could meet our clients on the street, or even on the beaches, wouldn’t that be cool? And besides, it’s nice advertisement on wheels. Too bad, mobile trucks are not yet permitted on the island, but we keep talking to the city council hoping that they will be eventually.
Sounds great! Do you also go beyond Mallorca?
Karen: Yes, we do, definitely. Right now, we are talking to partners in Canada and Sweden, and in Germany we are already working with Gourmondo, a delicatessen online store.
I love your slogan „Are you Salar?“. How did you come up with that?
Enrike: In the beginning, we were looking for a catchy slogan. And since my name stands for the quality and the service we put into our product, “Are you Salar?” is just perfect. Everybody responds very naturally, Yes, I am! But there is indeed a funny little story to it: I went to see one of my customers at the Anchorage Club, once, and overheard a conversation at the tiny coffee shop right on the beach, when a kid was asking his father about the meaning of “Are you Salar?” And the father said, „Well, this is because Mr. Salar is very old, and he put on the cups ‘Are you Salar?’, so every morning when he drinks his coffee, he says, Ah, I am Salar!“ ((everybody laughing)).
You travel the whole island every week – what are your favorite places?
Enrike: I have a lot of favorite places, actually, many of them are connected to clients or clients to-be. There is Ca na Toneta in Caimari, for example, their all-eco-menus are marvelous, and it’s really a magic place. Then Casa Maruka, here in Palma – they do wonderful authentic food. I also love Agapanto in Port de Sóller, it’s right on the beach and you get the most freshest fish and seafood on your plate. And there’s its amazing little sister Sa Frontera in Sóller… Another one of my favorites is Nassau Beach, particularly in the wintertime, when there is no beach life: just the perfect place for a cup of coffee at nine o’clock in the morning, it’s just so quiet and beautiful! For me, Mallorca is just the best place to live, it’s fantastic.