The First Step of a Coffee Book Journey

How far can one idea take you? Where will the casual comment of another person lead you?

I learned a lesson on the power of ideas about a year and a half ago. I was in Mexico City for the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. It’s the top food awards event for the region, when spectacular chefs gather together to celebrate their past achievements and their future goals. The whole week, not just the night of the awards, is a thrilling experience; as a food writer I get to attend numerous dinners and parties in glittering settings and try the best food in the city.

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La Grande: Peruvian Cuisine in Quinta Camacho

Do you have a favorite street? One that you love to walk down, where you take time sit on a bench and look at the trees and admire the gardens and the ivy-covered houses? It can create a peaceful moment that takes you away from the big-city traffic.

I have a street like that. I can always find a good excuse to walk down it. When I’m nearby checking out new coffee shops or restaurants I’ll go out of my way to head down that street and get the feeling I’ve escaped to a small town outside Bogota.

So when a restaurant opens up on my favorite street, I pay attention.

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Colombian Coffee Dreams: One Entrepreneur’s Vision

In the mid-1990s, Luis Fernando Vélez was busy selling flowers.

In Colombia that wasn’t uncommon, since the fertile land near Medellin is flower-growing country. In fact, the country is one of the largest producers of flowers in the world.  So the next time you receive or send flowers, those gorgeous blossoms might be from Colombia.

You could imagine that those flowers would be from Luis Fernando Vélez’s flower export company. But they won’t be.

You see, Vélez didn’t get that far with selling flowers. The problem was the coffee.

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How to Brew Specialty Coffee that Impresses your Barista

So you’ve taken a tour of specialty coffee shops in Bogota. You were impressed with the skill of the baristas and the excellent brews you tried. Perhaps you bought several bags of Colombian coffee, and you are anxious to impress your friends with your new coffee brewing knowledge.

Now you’re asking yourself: “How can I brew specialty coffee in my kitchen?”

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What Makes a Specialty Coffee Shop Unforgettable?

When you visit Bogota, at some point you may find yourself on a chilly street wondering where to warm up with a good coffee. Now, if what you mean by a good coffee is that you need to find a specialty coffee shop, you and I have something in common.

When I began writing travel articles for international publications, I always had to include coffee shops. After all, this is Colombia, the largest exporter of fine Arabica coffee in the world.

It was only after spending large amounts of time with enthusiastic coffee shop owners, talented and generous baristas, and many cups of coffee that I realized I’d found something amazing.

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Restaurants in Colombia: Andres Carne de Res

Quick Reviews are short peeks at restaurants in Colombia.

Andrés Carne de Res

Andrés Carne de Res is one of those restaurants in Colombia that you can’t miss while visiting Bogota. As soon as you enter the restaurant you’ll be met the craziness that has become its trademark. Musicians wander from table to table to play typical Latin ballads, waiters are dressed in colorful outfits, and random objects such as steel cows and neon hearts dangle from the ceiling.

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Restaurants in Bogota: Prudencia

La Candelaria is one of Bogota’s most fascinating neighborhoods, both bohemian and historic. It’s uncomfortably crowded down by the main plaza but takes on an eerie calm up by Chorro de Quevedo, the fountain and plaza where they say Bogota got its start.

I can feel the history as I walk on the quiet streets past buildings whose foundations were laid in the early 1600s.  The cobblestone streets are crowded with red tile roofed houses painted in vibrant colonial colors. Occasional splashes of street art invoke the past and present, modern and historic, European and indigenous.

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What’s in our Cup: Urbania Cafe

Warning: If you’re not in Medellin, Colombia, or going soon, you may not want to read this post because it can create severe irritation at not having immediate access to this coffee.

What’s the best thing about working in the world of coffee? Drinking it. Of course.

And when you work with coffee, wherever you travel you feel impelled to search out the best coffee shops and down a few cups of joe. Alejandra, our marvelous tour guide for the Flavors of Bogota Coffee Shop Tours, recently did her own investigative research in Medellin, searching out the best coffee shops. As you can see from her satisfied smile in the picture below, she got a good find. The best part is that she brought us back samples from her investigation – a mighty tasty job, indeed.

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Restaurants in Colombia: Criterion

Quick Reviews are short peeks at restaurants in Colombia

Colombia’s beloved culinary brothers, Jorge and Mark Rausch, have been on the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list with their restaurant Criterion ever since the prestigious awards began. In 2015 they moved up the list to now come in at number 18.

Their popularity has reached new heights since Jorge formed part of the Master Chef Colombia team. Criterion’s location in Zona G puts this duo in one of the hottest restaurant areas with some of the top dining establishments.

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Everything Edible in Colombia