GOOD independent Cafés in Pereira, Colombia are not as common as an outsider would naturally assume. In fact, traditionally in the Coffee Axis of Colombia, much of what the average person drinks is actually pasilla. Pasilla is the dirty left-overs of commercial coffee. The moldy, burnt and trash infused bits which are basically the nasty byproducts left behind in commercial coffee processing. However, there is a movement happening in Pereira called the Tercer Ola, or 3rd wave, or the younger generation of coffee producers. They are comprised of a small group of millennials and even a few Gen X’ers who are bringing high quality coffee to the Coffee Axis.
Pereira City Guide set out to find the top 5 independent Cafés in Pereira which are worth the taste, where visitors, and a growing group of locals, can enjoy premium coffee which is carefully sourced and cultivated using state-of-the art methodology and techniques to ensure quality. However, this doesn’t stop at the farm. Equally important is the educated consumer and the professional barista.
How do we determine whether Cafés in Pereira are worth the taste? Is it the smell, the texture, or the pastries they offer? Honestly, it’s a personal preference we are all going to have. The only qualifying factors are that they must be:
- Independent: Family owned/local business
- Do that ONE thing right: Premium Coffee, Technique, or Special options/preparations.
- Have an ambiance: Quiet for talking, Local Art, Creative Décor etc..
Café’s in Pereira
Here in the Coffee Axis of Colombia there are so many unique tastes of which coffee is only one of them. We have a huge variety of exotic juices. The best coffee in the world is grown in the Department of Risaralda and near to Pereira. Cocoa, the lesser known but equally important cousin of the coffee industry is also a major product in the Coffee Axis. These are all unique and special foods which are often over-processed, doused in chemicals and then sold on the mass market. As people start to awaken to this we are (very slowly) learning to appreciate premium, well made coffee.
Here are just a few cafés which offer a good cup of coffee. If you know of any Cafés in Pereira that we should know about, please feel welcome to leave a comment so we can pay them a visit!
La Terraza Café | Km 7 Via Cerritos
Premium Coffee. On-site Barista. Gourmet food. El Lugar Hotel Boutique is pulling out all the stops in order to give visitors premium organic carefully sourced coffee. With a newly built Guadua bamboo structure, Terraza Café is a place that will give you the cappuccino of your dreams and leave you stunned at the view of colorful birds, trees and flowers.
For a very dignified yet relaxed feeling combined with unmatched quality and service of ingredients and professionalism. Hint: Men! Women! This is the spot to make ROMANCE happen. It’s impossible to mess this experience up!
The defining quality which sets Terraza Café apart from the average café is the carefully curated café de origen, or from-a-good-source style of coffee. They are developing and educating customers about regional varities of coffee from seed to cup. If you want a coffee barista tour to remember, definitely spend an afternoon at Terraza Café!
El Barista | Carrera 15 #4-17, Pinares
Premium Coffee, carefully sourced from a small farmer in the nearby municipality of Marseilla. From seed to cup El Barista will take you to a coffee experience which will reveal exquisite flavors, deep aromas and a unique experience. Ask for the special cake, a vanilla cake with chunks of brownie and an exotic uchuva marmalade. Accompany it perfectly with a cup of slow drip coffee to bring out the flavors.
The defining quality of El Barista is their work with a producer in Marseilla. The newest trend in quality café isn’t just the atmosphere or taste, but also the growing techniques and methods used to create a distinct flavor and texture. Sebastian Mejia, one of the principal passions behind this start-up business is currently in Europe studying coffee, chocolate & pastries, according to local rumor. We are expecting great things over time from this café.
Update: As of 2017, this cafe was declared by the national restaurant/cafe awards people as #1 Coffee Shop in the Coffee Axis. Great things are happening!
Cafetalex | Calle 23 #7 – 25, el Centro
Another major power-player in the coffee culture of Cafés in Pereira is the family behind Cafetalex. A husband-wife-son team of coffee-lovers, they are bringing quality coffee and methodology to downtown Pereira. An additional bonus is their location. Located on the Calle 23, the café is located in one of the few sectors of Pereira with original Colonial Paisa architecture. Inside you will find a very modern-art-in-a-vintage-way sort of ambiance.
Featuring trained baristas and top-quality machinery, Cafetalex is bringing you coffee made with the latest techniques and coffee-tech. All employees are trained baristas and the proprietors are actively evolving and learning new methodology. This is the café where coffee nerds go to hang out! Around you are people who appreciate and understand the difference between V60 and French Press. Tastes should include observations of the complexities and origins of the plant itself. Not unlike a fine wine tasting, you will find yourself drawn into the technical side of coffee preparation in a hipster-ish art-deco atmosphere.
Sancafe | Calle 26 #7-26 – el Centro
We bring you this cafe as a work in progress. A third wave coffee shop, the family which owns it – also owns the coffee farm. As a result, they are using “farm-to-table” innovation to develop their business quite literally from the ground up. Featuring an expert team of coffee cultivators and baristas, there are two varieties of Arabica coffee used to create a blend.
A local business, the coffee is grown in nearby Belarcasa, Caldas, roasted in Cerritos and served fresh in el Centro Pereira. You can find coffee expert Wilson Andres perfecting his City+ medium roast, or in the city teaching customers about the manual preparations of coffee. Which brings us to an important point. Customer education. Together the coffee shops of Pereira are working to create a very sophisticated coffee culture like never before.
We will be following the progress of this shop over the next couple years. Be sure to visit them soon – while they are still relatively unknown. It is quite possible that this locally owned small business could become a major coffee contender in the future growth and evolution of the Colombian coffee culture.
Tintto, Tienda de Café | Ed. El Diario del Otun Local 16, el Centro
This is the happening spot for the business clientele of Cafés in Pereira. Located in the front entrance of El Diario del Otun, Tintto Tienda de Café is another premium coffee shop which is also located in the city center 2 blocks from Bolivar Plaza on Calle 19. A great meeting spot, El Diario del Otun is a busy place and your coffee will be prepared quickly and efficiently by trained baristas.
The distinct quality offered by Tintto, is a special variety of coffee which is grown in Belen de Umbria in a small farm called La Morabia. Not only will local crops affect the flavor of coffee, but also the altitude at which it is grown. The coffee served here was cultivated at 1,740 meters above sea level using the highest quality standards.
Me Latte | Calle 18 – between cra. 5 & 6, el Centro
There is one last special mention in this group, Me Latte, located on Calle 18 between Carrera 5 & 6 in el Centro. This is a traditional style coffee shop of Pereira. They qualify because the coffee is grown locally by a small producer. The business format is traditional in the sense that the café does not touch the producer, only makes & presents the product. The owner studies coffee a bit as needed and teaches his employees. No career barista currently employed.
There are dozens of Cafés in Pereira which are based on this simple business format, because it still works to some extent. And for most of the local crowd, and even the average foreign visitors who aren’t huge coffee geeks, you will savor the taste and the ambiance. Family owned and operated (mostly), Me Latte is a great rush-hour stop or afternoon meet-up place that is well lit and always a pleasant group of regulars. You will always feel welcome there. Their coffee is less than premium but it deserves the hero prize for a traditional “nice” Cafés in Pereira.
Toranj Cafe | Calle 22 #6-11, el Centro
It’s kinda funny, because as we learn more about cafe in Pereira, we also discover more. Each cafe has that one thing they do right. At Toranj you can get wonderful cappuccinos and amazing frappe.
We especially like their frappe because it’s everything we desire in one: creamy, sweet but not chokingly, and the right balance of espresso. This one meets all our criteria. What is your criteria for the perfect frappe, or coffee milkshake? And, the general manager, Camilo speaks English – so don’t hesitate to say hello if you see a friendly looking guy with glasses!
Cafe Jazmin | Calle 23 #6-55, el Centro
Featuring a farm to table experience that will teach you about the icons of coffee culture, Cafe Jazmin should definitely be a part of your coffee tour. With a catacion score of 84 points, Cafe Jazmine is without a doubt serving a premium coffee.
And, for breakfast-lovers they feature European style breakfasts and pastries that will have your mouth watering in no time. Ask about their bagels, cakes and biscotti’s for a fun selection of yummy options. Did we mention they also have some fun coffee milkshakes too? Enjoy!
Molino Viejo | Carrera 6 #20-23, el Centro
For a sweet, full bodied organic coffee, try this one. Currently our favorite cafe for cappucchinos, this one won’t disappoint. Centrally located, but very fairly priced, this one is just down a block and a couple doors down from Arakataka on Calle 21 between Carerra 6 and Carerra 7 in el Centro.
Be sure to try their Torta de Amapola con Naranja or Orange – Poppyseed Cake, it’s delicious! They also feature some fun lemonade combinations too – coffee not mandatory.
Cafe Aroma | C.C. Muelle 18, el Centro
Muelle 18 #5-30 on Calle 18, between Carrera 5 and 6, in el Centro.
Featuring exotic regional coffee brands, you can try exotic coffee “de origen” from places like Apia, Santander, Narino, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Cundinamarca. Located in the shopping center Muelle 18 on Calle 18, between Carrera 5 and 6, in el Centro. LOCAL SECRET: The table area for this shop is back off the street, very quiet and has high speed internet available for visitors. This same shopping center has plug-n-play office spaces available for temporary visitors or digital nomads.
Back to the coffee shop. They sell some great gourmet coffee brands from all over Colombia, operated by a professional barista, and reasonably priced for the quality you receive. We caught up with the owner Monica and asked her what her inspiration was and she responded “Me encanta el cafe. Me apasiona de cafe. El sabor, el aroma y conoces mas gente. Y tambien aprendas cosas.” I love coffee. I am passionate about coffee. The flavor, the smell, meeting people and learning things too.
Catch up with Cafe Aroma at Muelle 18 on Calle 18 #5-30, el Centro Pereira.
Like them via facebook.com/Cafe-Aroma-muelle-18 or follow via Instagram: @cafearomamuelle18
Società Caffe | Cra 10 # 18-65, el Centro
We really like the urban charm of this place. On the corner opposite el Diario del Otun, you can’t miss the concrete column and glass fascade. Inside, you will find a nice space for conversation, coffee or even a soccer game on their big flatscreen. Featuring a coffee de origen, it was cultivated in Vereda Vulcanes only a couple kilometers outside of Pereira on the via La Florida. Coffee from this zone especially has won many awards and received high cupping scores.
During our short chat with owner Lorenzo Morales, he explained to us how they had originally started the coffee shop 5 years ago, and have grown up in perfect synchronization with the evolution of quality coffee in the Coffee Axis. These people are veterans of the coffee trade and will give you a nice experience. Now open, a small coffee-bar inside of La Caminata on Avenida Circunvalar across the street from Bunuelos Dias.