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.
I had found a beautiful yet hidden gem: Bogota’s specialty coffee scene.
What makes a specialty coffee shop special?
But what made this hidden scene so amazing was not only the coffee. It wasn’t because of all those fascinating brewing methods, either. And it’s not just because the shops are so cute, with coffee labs on site, comfortable sofas, and free wifi.
It’s because they have something extremely precious that we might not notice at first. The baristas.
The baristas who love what they do. Who wake up every day longing to go to work. Who live to share their fascination with true specialty coffee.
Working closely with these young men and women, I have to admit I’ve fallen in love with them.
Baristas in Colombia
Baristas in Colombia are enthusiastic, dedicated, generous (I know I already said that but it bears repeating), happy, hard-working, and devoted. They make the coffee scene in Bogota beyond special. Their dedication to specialty coffee, to the flavors and characteristics and changing variables in each batch of coffee, is outstanding.
I recently went to the United States and did some tours of roasters and coffee shops. And of course I met dedicated baristas. But Colombians take dedication to a level of intensity that I have rarely seen elsewhere. It’s imprinted on their cultural fiber. They do what they do with a sense of presence and engagement that I have never seen in any other country I’ve visited.
Of course, it’s not just the baristas – hang around the country during an important soccer match and you’ll see it, hear it, and feel it. The roaring intensity will sweep you away.
Now imagine that presence and engagement hyped up on some serious caffeine levels and you can understand why these baristas are unforgettable.
So where can you go to meet these memorable baristas?
Specialty coffee shops
Here at Flavors of Bogota we will be doing a series of articles about the coffee shops that these baristas call home. For now, download our Quick Guide to Specialty Coffee Shops from the pop-up box that’ll appear on any post on the site. It gives you the short list of places you just have to visit.
Welcome to the world of specialty coffees in Bogota. Hang on to your hat. It’s a fascinating ride.
Want to learn more about specialty coffee in Colombia? Read Permission to Slurp, an easy and quick guide to what coffee means to Colombians and how you can get the most out of your coffee tastings. Download it here on Amazon – it only costs about the price of a cappuccino.