June 16, 2017

A Specialty Coffee Shop Tour of Lima, Peru

Peru is famous for its gastronomy, but we’ve yet to make a name for our coffee. However, the local scene is changing. Over the past decade, Lima has seen the appearance of several specialty coffee shops and roasteries

Let me give you some perspective on this. In 2015, we consumed a mere 600g of coffee per person – but, as USDA points out, that’s double what it was 5 years ago. And, among young urbanites, it rises to almost 1kg. But after all, it makes sense for us to consume great coffee. We grow it.

So let me introduce you to three must-visit Limeño specialty coffee shops. Whether you live here or are just stopping by, they won’t disappoint.

Spanish Version: Un Recorrido de Tiendas de café de especialidad de Lima, Perú

Coffee shop

Lima’s specialty coffee scene is growing! Credit: The Coffee Road

Why These 3?

It’s impossible to choose the “best” coffee shops, so instead, I’ve listed three of my personal favourites.

I’ve travelled to coffee farms across Peru, and I’ve tasted our best specialty coffees at their origin. And, most importantly of all, I’ve seen how coffee changes the lives of people in my country, whether they’re producers, baristas, or just coffee lovers like myself.

And that’s why I chose these three. Every single one has something special to learn from, see, and taste – something that will help make sure coffee continues to change people’s lives.

In no particular order, let’s get started.

Coffee shop

David Torres of Arabica espresso bar/Tostaduría Bisetti. Credit: Gabriela Pinto

1. Tostaduría Bisetti & Arabica

Tostaduría Bisetti has been around since the ‘50s, when Romulo Bisetti, a Peruvian of Italian descent, decided to start serving Italian-style coffee. The generations passed, and then his grandson, a philosopher named David Torres, worked as a barista in New York. This led David to open Arabica, Lima’s first espresso bar, in Miraflores. And in 2010, they started to sell Peruvian specialty coffee produced by Wilson Sucaticona in Puno.

The red door of Arabica used to open onto a roastery, espresso bar, and patisserie, but over time the business grew to need a bigger place. That’s when Bisetti decided to also open doors in Barranco, the hipster district of Lima.

Today, Tostaduría Bisetti serves coffee from the Cajamarca, Junin, and Villa Rica coffee regions. They also have a coffee lab, where they can roast and cup coffees. Not only will the team happily tell you more about your coffee, but you can take courses in this very lab.

The team are also passionate about sustainability. In particular, they believe in supporting organic production.

Coffee shop

Brew fruit: cold brew and Peruvian fresh fruit. Credit: Gabriela Pinto

WhereAv. Pedro de Osma 116, Barranco
AtmosphereRelaxed – a good place to sit with friends or read a book
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco FB80 (Red)
Espresso RoastMedium to medium-dark
Filter RoastMedium
Must-Try DrinkBrew Fruit, a cold brew and Peruvian fruit cocktail
Retail OfferingsSolo para fumadores, a blend with an intense flavor named after the book by Julio Ramon Ribeyro
Nearby SightsBridge of Sighs is a two-minute walk away, while the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo is 20 minutes by foot or 5 by taxi
Coffee shop

Tostaduría Bisetti roastery and laboratory. Credit: Gabriela Pinto

2. The Coffee Road

You’ll find The Coffee Road in San Isidro, an upmarket neighborhood. Most of Lima’s third wave coffee shops are in trendy districts like Miraflores and Barranco. However, Alejandro, the founder of The Coffee Road, wanted to bring specialty coffee to a new area of the city.

The coffee shop opened in June 2014 and soon became a popular option. In fact, they’ve recently moved to a bigger coffee shop. It’s full of character, with paintings, quotes about coffee, old coffee machinery, and little trucks dotted around.

Alejandro and his partner offer multiple brewing methods, and serve beans from farms in three major coffee-producing regions within Peru: Finca Vidurrizaga in Villa Rica, Junin; Finca Alto in Bagua Grande, Amazonas; and Finca Churupampa in Chirinos, Cajamarca.

Coffee shop

Alejandro Chu with his girlfriend and shop manager, Aileen, behind the coffee bar. Credit: Patty Ku

WhereAv. Guillermo Prescott 365, San Isidro
AtmosphereComfy and casual
Espresso MachineMarzocco GB5
Espresso RoastMedium-dark
Filter RoastMedium
Must-Try DrinkAeroPress
Retail OfferingsSocarrada craft beer
Nearby SightsSan Isidro is an upmarket area, with many shops, parks, and restaurants a short stroll from The Coffee Road
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Enjoy a slice of carrot cake with filter coffee on The Coffee Road’s terrace. Credit: Patty Ku  

SEE ALSO: Let’s Talk Coffee: How a Co-op in Peru Works Towards Specialty

3. Neira Café Lab

Harrysson Neira’s grandmother used to wake up early every morning to bake bread and roast coffee she’d harvested herself. It was there, sitting down for breakfast to the smell of coffee in Culebreros, northern Peru, where Harry first fell in love with coffee and artisan bread.

At Neira Café Lab, you’ll find some of the country’s best specialty coffee roasted in-house, amazing artisan breads and desserts, and more. What’s more, everything comes with its own Peruvian twist.

As both a Q grader and Peru’s Barista Champion 2013, Harry also leads cuppings and cappuccino-making classes at the coffee shop.

Coffee shop

Harrysson Neira smells recently ground coffee from Chabela, before brewing it in a Chemex. Credit: Gabriela Pinto  

WhereAv. Enrique Palacios 1074, Miraflores
AtmosphereMinimalist
Espresso MachineMarzocco GB5
Espresso RoastMedium
Filter RoastLight
Must-Try DrinkCacaoccino
Retail OfferingsBags of coffee and t-shirts
Food & Other DrinksBanana and fig bread
Nearby SightsThe 1800-year-old Huaca Pucllana pyramid is a 15-minute stroll away
Coffee shop

Harry concentrates as he makes a Cacaoccino, his signature coffee-and-chocolate beverage. Credit: Gabriela Pinto

Here in Lima, specialty coffee may be new but there’s no shortage of passion. Stop by these specialty coffee shops and have a real taste of Peruvian coffee. And if you have a little more time in this city, why not explore some of our other great cafés?

All views within this opinion piece belong to the guest writer, who is a local of Lima, and do not reflect Perfect Daily Grind’s stance.

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