Greg and Agi, the owners of Mistral Coffee. | Vicki McLeod

0

We are all aware of the terrible situation in Ukraine. Refugees, mainly mothers and their children, are arriving in Mallorca with very little in the way of clothing and, in most cases, little or no money. They, obviously, desperately need help. In this rapidly changing situation, local and international residents have got together under the name of UR Mallorca, and have been working with the local Ukrainian Church and NGO organisations to find, help and place Ukrainian refugees into Host Families.

Short term, this is sustainable, however the ongoing rise in food and fuel costs mean feeding and clothing an additional two children plus their mother is economically unsustainable for many hosts. Currently (as of 5 April 2022), they have placed 70 mothers and children and estimate that by next week this number will be higher than 120.

The refugees are proud people and do not simply want to accept kindness. In order to function effectively, all these families need clothes, shoes, food and essential hygiene products and, if possible, jobs. If you can help, please contact Tracey at UR Mallorca using WhatsApp. +34 633 34 44 63.

Top 25 for Mistral!

When Greg Schuler met Agata Mikulska they both met someone that the other could do business with. “As soon as we spoke about opening our own cafe we were both all in,” Agata (or Agi) tells me. We are sitting in their cafe, Mistral Coffee in Placa Weyler in the heart of Palma. Greg, originally from the UK, had spent several years working in the yachting industry and Agi, who is Polish, had been working in a cafe in Mallorca. As I ask them about their business which was launched in 2017 it is quickly apparent how well suited they are to working together, they listen to each other’s replies, before adding their own opinions, sometimes a detailed and alternate answer to the same question. “I see that you complement each other, how you work as a team”, I tell them, and they agree. Greg is in charge of the sourcing and roasting of the coffee beans from all over the world, and Agi is IC the cafe and front of house, but they both cross over into the other’s areas.

The original dream remains the same, to bring speciality coffee to Mallorca, and roast it right here on the island. Originally they roasted the beans in their first location, but recently they have moved to the roasting operations to an industrial unit as the demand for their blends of beans has grown substantially over the years. Now you might have tasted Mistral Coffee in many of the hipper cafes in Palma, and they are spreading out across the island as well. But this success is the result of extremely hard work, continuous 16 hour days with no breaks, and of course, yes, a pandemic in the midst of it all to chuck a spanner in the works. But they have prevailed, and survived, and now they seem to be thriving. Their recent recognition by the Financial Times as one of the world’s top 25 best independent coffee shops came as a surprise. “I got this email, and I thought it was a hoax,” Greg tells me, “but then later in the day, I looked again, and thought, maybe this is for real. Agi was away and we try not to contact each other when the other is on a break, but I had to call her, it was so exciting!” How did they make it into the list? “I think there are quite a lot of journalists visiting Majorca and the coffee scene is growing, Majorca is attracting a lot of people to live here who are used to living in cities and having this sort of high quality coffee available to them.” In fact, if you start to get into your coffee you will soon find that there are similarities to wine, the different coffees are described as having “notes” possibly fruity or chocolatey or nutty, and their origin is important, as the altitude at which the beans are grown. Apart from producing delicious coffee, the team also ensure that the beans are ethically sourced. They use only 100% traceable, seasonally produced Arabica coffee which is of the highest rating according to high SCA standards and always in the most ethically and sustainable way.

The fundamental question is what does the coffee taste like? It’s pretty delicious to be honest. I have sipped many a Mistral coffee over the past few years. The taste is subjective of course as I like what I like, and you will be different I am sure dear reader, but I like it very much. If you are curious to try but not sure what you will like the staff in the cafe will guide you to find a roast which they think you will enjoy. You can also try drinking the coffee in different ways, not just espresso, but why not try the drip method for example? And then if you are hungry there is always something tempting to try in the pastry section. You can also buy the beans in the cafe and have them ground for home use which I did at Christmas time for gifts for my family of coffee lovers. Apart from buying and drinking the coffee in the store, you can also buy it online and have it delivered to you. Visit https://mistralcoffee.com for more info.

The FT are not alone in their praise of Mistral, check them out on Trip Advisor and you will find many rave reviews from happy coffee aficionados. The cafe in Placa Weyler was a huge find, and a bit of a risk. The business partners took it on during the pandemic and only opened the location last July. How do they think it will go this year? “We are really confident and excited about the season, and we’re looking forward to consolidating our work”. Congratulations to the both of them, and to the Mistral team for their success. Hard work pays off.