When you travel to a different country, everything is exciting, with new experiences to be had, new foods to try, new things to see and do. Sometimes, however, a bit of familiarity during your travels can be a port in the storm of all of the novelty going on around you. What could be more familiar and comforting during your Peru trip than a great cup of coffee?
Peru is among the top twenty coffee producers in the world, and is fifth in the exportation of Arabica beans, a variety grown on over 200,000 small Peruvian coffee farms. Peru is also lauded as one of the largest producers of organic and fair-trade coffee, with most of its coffee processed through cooperatives.
Peru recently won first place in the international SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) awards for the second year running. This year, a coffee cooperative from Cusco, CAC Incahuasi Lucio Luque Vasquez, claimed first prize in this competition. Last year’s winner was a grower cooperative in Puno.
The process to make coffee has quite a few steps, from bean to cup. First, the coffee beans come from the bright red fruit of the coffee tree, known as coffee cherries. There is not enough pulp in a coffee cherry to make it a worthy snack, though the flavor is pleasant enough. Legend has it that coffee’s stimulating effects were first noted after a herdsman observed his goats’ increased joie de vivre after grazing on coffee cherries. Coffee beans are harvested, separated from the cherry, roasted, and then ground to various grades of fineness before being brewed to produce the robust drink we enjoy each morning.
While you are in Peru, you will have the chance to try this delicious cup of joe and taste for yourself why Peru won first place in he international SCAA award. Here are a few of our favorite cafes in Cusco and Lima:
Monkey Café –Located above Plaza San Blas, this café features a cozy atmosphere, presentations by local artists, poets, and musicians, tasty snacks, and of course locally roasted coffee drinks from Peruvian growers. Some call it the best coffee place in Cusco.
Address: Siete Angelitos 638 San Blas
Café Siete y Siete – above Plaza San Blas, is located in the Pension Alemana Hotel and situated at the top of a hill, offering spectacular views of Cusco, great coffee, traditional Peruvian lunch and dinner fare, and scrumptious desserts. “Siete y Siete” or “Seven and Seven” refers to their location at the juncture of Siete Angelitos y Siete Diablos (Seven Angels and Seven Devils) Streets.
Address: Tandapata 260, San Blas
The Meeting Place – on Plaza San Blas, is a volunteer-run café that serves great aromatic coffee; it’s also known for its milkshakes and generous American-style breakfasts and lunch dishes. Added bonus: the café’s profits go to helping organizations around Cusco.
Address: Plazoleta San Blas #630
Tostaduria Bistetti – The Bistetti Family has been in the business of serving up great coffee since 1958; their first location, opened by Romulo Bistetti in 1958, was in the Breña district. His great-grandson later opened the popular Tostaduria Bistetti, in the Bohemian District of Barranco, in a colonial-style mansion. They serve up amazingly aromatic coffee drinks and desserts: all beans are sourced from Peruvian coffee growers, and they also host local exhibitions and cultural events.
Address: Pedro de Osma 116, Barranco 15063
Aromia Café – Located near Parque Kennedy, the Aromia Café takes its coffee seriously! All coffee is fair-trade sourced, and they have six coffee-brewing methods: Cold Brew, Aeropress, V60, Chemex, French Press, and Syphon. They also offer teas, juices, and delightful desserts.
Address: Calle Libertad 415, Miraflores
Café Puku Puku – A Puku Puku is a bird that sings at dawn, and the owners of this café hope to offer equally lovely options for “waking up” their patrons with amazing coffee drinks prepared using six diverse brewing methods. With five locations in Lima, Café Puku Puku’s owners source their coffee locally and offer a variety of distinctive coffee drinks and desserts.
Address: Narciso de la Colina 297 Miraflores, Lima L18