In Pereira and La Virginia is a small cafe named Cafe Aroma and featuring quality coffee of excellent origin. The owner is a woman entrepreneur who has always dreamed of having her own shop. Come along with us as we explore this fun new cafe AND a little-known touristic pueblo only 30 kilometers west of Pereira.
Owner/Barista Angela Monica loves coffee. She says “Siempre me llamaran al attencion de cafe” Coffee has always caught my attention. And, her experience as a barista only made her fall in love more. “Porque me gusta el cafe y me encanta el olor de cafe.” she says. (Because I like coffee and I love the smell of coffee).
Be sure to follow Cafe Aroma – Pereira on Facebook for special events and gourmet coffee: facebook.com/Cafe-Aroma
Each location has a distinct feel and niche. In Pereira, Cafe Aroma is the featured cafe of Muelle 18, the first centro comercial in Pereira to use repurposed shipping containers. The space is innovative, featuring a natural airflow and cooling, natural light and a quiet green-space where visitors can work or meet in a central location. Only 2 blocks from Plaza Bolivar on Calle 18 between carrera 5 and carrera 6.
In La Virginia, you will find a completely different environment which consists of beautiful views of the city, gourmet pastries and a spectacular line-up of classic cocktails like Pisco Sour, Gin & Tonic, Pina Colada and Margarita. Be sure to ask about their coffee cocktails too! If you are looking for a near-to-Pereira day-trip or afternoon – dinner destination, be sure to visit La Virginia and Cafe Aroma for a fun touristic experience.
At Cafe Aroma, you will find a very professional coffee environment which is committed to raising the standard on coffee culture in the Coffee Axis of Colombia. Follow Cafe Aroma – La Virginia on Facebook too: facebook.com/Café-Aroma
Innovating Coffee Culture
Angela Monica, is lending her knowledge and experience as a graduate of the only Barista school in Colombia which offers a SCAE certified coffee diploma. SCAE, is the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe. Their role is to work with producers and baristas in coffee producing countries to ensure the best standards, quality and methods from seed to cup.
Over time, the Academy instructors will travel to the cafe’s they have helped to develop, and do inspections of the coffee shops and producers whose owners/managers/baristas who have graduated. The program is very innovative, entrepreneurial, and a driving impulse behind the growth of coffee culture in Colombia.
Cafe Aroma is actively working with them to create high standards of coffee preparation culture, in Pereira and La Virginia. We can assume that this cafe has a lot of value and potential which will only improve over time. It is very cool to see passionate people opening businesses which have thoroughly studied their product.
For more information about this 400 hour instruction and training course in Bogota, click here: facebook.com/LaAcademiaDelBarista/
Previously, we have mentioned her cafe in Pereira for its commitment to service and a high quality coffee de origen. Be sure to visit our article about 9 gourmet coffee shops: pereiracityguide.com/cafes-pereira/
Coffee de Origen
The coffee of Cafe Aroma comes from a finca (small farm), in Risaralda called Flor de Apia. The coffee is cultivated at 1,800 meters above sea level. It is Arabica variety with chocolate, caramel and lemony flavor notes. The roast is medium. And, the coffee is hand selected to ensure quality.
Not only is this a quality coffee, but it comes at an affordable price compared to similar cafe’s in the same part of Pereira. In La Virginia you will find a much bigger shop with more options and desserts from El Parisiano.
The most popular coffee preparation in the La Virginia location is Cafe Affogato. It’s a decadent combination of vanilla ice cream and the rich flavor of espresso.
Cafe Aroma’s management and employees are knowledgeable in all the different coffee preparations and methodology including V60/Slow Pour, Dripper, Chemex and French Press.
Pereira | 9 am – 7 pm Monday – Saturday La Virginia | 9 am – 9 pm Mon – Thurs 9 am – 10 pm Friday
9 am – 11 pm Saturday 9 am – 10 pm Sunday
Cafe Aroma La Virginia: facebook.com/Café-Aroma
Cafe Aroma Pereira: facebook.com/Cafe-Aroma-muelle-18
La Virginia: The Sweet Door of Colombia
May 13th, 2017 was the inauguration of a second Cafe Aroma, in the sleepy pueblo of La Virginia. Population 32,000+ according to 2005 census data. Come to the rolling hills and visit this town, which was once a very important stop along the old shipping routes utilizing the River Cauca.
La Virgiania, though still mostly unknown to visitors from the exterior, has a sleeping potential.
Special zona francas, or tax free zones have been set up in this pueblo which are slated for bigger tourism operations. We aren’t yet sure what is planned for the future, but something is stirring in an area which was previously a bit off-limits due to mafia/cartel violence.
Current tourist attractions includes river boat rides, fishing and a really nice resort-style swimming pool complex just outside the town. Catch a chiva to get to there in front of Plaza de Faroles (Cafe Aroma). Some of the regular river attractions are currently off-limits. As of this publication (May 2017) River Cauca is much higher due to excessive rainfall.
The same people who are creating tax free zones for tourism operators is calling this pueblo “El Puerto Dulce de Colombia.” Which translates as the Sweet Door of Colombia. The name comes from the sugar cane, which is one of the primary crops of this municipality. When you arrive, this nickname will take on a deeper meaning. You will appreciate the beautiful green spaces of this small town.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy your visit:
- The most common form of transportation is via bicycle. According to locals, there are 4 bicycles per household in this river basin community. And, the town is very flat with plenty of bike lanes & paths.
- Be sure to dress very light and bring your bug spray, as the lower altitude and humidity from the river is brings out more flies and mosquitos. Don’t forget to hydrate and get some shade during the intense mid-day hours.
- In the main plaza where Cafe Aroma is located, you can catch buses to Pereira every 15-20 minutes until 10:00 pm.
La Virginia is going to become very interesting in the next few years. Right now is a special time because it hasn’t really been “discovered” by the general tourist population, the prices are super cheap for the region, and it has this very old school Latin pueblo feel to it. You will still see the horse-carts, 3+ people squeezed onto a motorcycle, and men fresh off the finca with ponchos, carriles and machetes. Bring your own poncho to wipe the glorious heat off your face from time to time.
Take a look at the following Slideshare to learn more about La Virginia and its principle attractions:
Owner/Editor of OpenMindedTraveler.com, Erin is also the Project Administrator/Editor of Pereira City Guide.com - She has been living in Pereira, Colombia for several years.