SocialFam ‘5 minutes’ with Cocoa cafe, Barcelona

Tim, Sam & Yen

Tim, Sam & Yen

We are really excited to be interviewing the family behind the newest hot spot in town for families. We caught up with Yen to find out more.

First, tell us where you guys are from and what brought you to Barcelona
I am from the Dominican Republic and Tim from The Netherlands. We both arrived here around 11 years ago. Tim simply came for the sun and lifestyle that Spain offers, after trouble re-adjusting to life in The Netherlands. He had previously lived in Australia. I first arrived in the Basque country after some friends I met on a cruise ship invited me over for Christmas. I quickly fell in love with Spain and decided to stay. 
We met around 7 year ago in a bar (long before Tinder!), and hit it off from day one and have been together ever since. We have a beautiful 2 year old son together. Sam is our daily pride and joy!

How did the Cocoa concept come about and tell us a bit about the process to get here
The idea came up last year when we were in Amsterdam and encountered a family oriented café. We liked the concept a lot and realised that there is a real shortage of them in Barcelona. At that moment I was caring for Sam and orientating myself to see what would be my next professional adventure and so I decided that this would be it! The combination of my studies, experience, being able to be with Sam and developing a concept that I believed in was perfect.
I worked on the business plan intensively with major help from a dear friend called Ilda. Without her this would not have been possible!

From the moment the plan was approved by all institutions, we managed to find the perfect spot close to Sagrada Familia, with all glass walls, lots of light and 2 floors. We planned to reform the space in 2 months and open in August. It turned out to be 4 months of construction work and spending more than double the budget than we initially planned! We recently opened in October and are very happy with the turnout and the overall reaction by everyone so far. We pretty much receive all 5* reviews, which is something that we are very proud of and will work to keep up. Our aim is to continue offering an exceptional experience to everyone who visits us. 

Wow, so it has been a journey with some challenges of course.  It seems to have all paid off.  You guys have produced a quality outcome.  What can SocialFam members expect to experience at Cocoa?
They can expect to always be received and served with a smile. We serve freshly made dishes for all ages. Our specialities are our homemade cakes & pies from our master chef Elisa. She has more than 23 years experience which is noticed immediately in her delicious inventions. We collaborated and created the entire menu. Besides the food people can expect a clean, light and friendly environment with play corners for kids and a calendar of interesting activities for children. 

We see that you have family working within the business.  Why was it so important for you to include them?
This is what we are all about, being an inclusive and family orientated place. You can see 3 generations walking around in Cocoa and everything in between daily. We welcome families, children, fathers & mothers, but also have established a very nice relationship with the grandparents in the neighbourhood. We even hosted a birthday for a lovely 84 year old and her family. 

Do you have any advice for those wanting to start a business in Barcelona?
All the clichés are true. It is definitely not easy but of course doable. You need to have an idea that you are passionate about and a lot of patience. Also, make sure that you surround yourself with honest professionals and begin with the end in mind and stick with it.

Thank you so much and we look forward to seeing the growth.
Visit the Cocoa page here and Instagram here