To be a great coffee shop takes more than just good coffee. There must be service, ambiance and accompaniments. The shop must demonstrate consistency in those areas as well as an attitude of continual improvement in meeting the needs of the customer.
Previously we covered our favorite coffee shops in Bogotá. Readers may have noticed that we have a 2013 list and 2014 favorites for Colombia’s capital city. 2015 did not receive our recommendations. The reason is that we moved to a town outside the city of eight million people. We decided to visit the numerous coffee shops in the new area many times before selecting our choices. In our opinion each of the shops making our 2016 list are worth the short drive from Bogotá.
Not all places to get your coffee are the same. Each seems to have their specialty or something they do better than the others. For us our daily outing for the black brew is determined by how we feel. Such as do we want comfortable seating, to purchase tasty bread products or sit outside enjoying the weather. Therefore determination for our favorites is a little bit different this year. We put the best of each in a category. For readers this may help you choose where to go depending upon what additional you are looking for.
Each of the coffee shops listed below has an individual review. You may access that write up by clicking on either their photo or name in the category listing.
Best in bread – Wassa
Bogotá and the surrounding area has many panaderias (bakeries)and most serve coffee. So there is much competition in this area. But Wassa stands out. People come from other towns to by their bread there. The selection ranges from French bread to multi-grained and from standard sliced to round. Then there are the little goodies like pan de yucca that the area is known for. They also have sufficient tables to sit at. Service is good. Coffee is served in a ceramic cup. We always take a few loaves of bread home with us.
Best in comfortable seating – Viganello
American coffee shop patrons are often slug down the black brew drinkers. Colombians treat the experience as something enjoyable. We often use the time to discuss talk or look over papers. A comfortable seat in a quiet area is important. Our favorite for that is Viganello located in the Centro Chia mall. They have many padded barrel back seats for the two person tables. Even the square tables for four patrons sport padded chairs. We often see people with papers spread out going over contracts drawings and other things.
Service never fails and coffee taste never disappoints. The uniform clad employees often greet you with a smile. The drinks are delivered in ceramic cups. They have a selection of cakes as well as bread items like palitos de quesso.
Best in patio seating – St. Honoré & Juan Valdez Bazaar
Many days in the Chia/Cajica area are are sunny and warm. Partaking of a coffee outside is enjoyable. Two places tied in this section for different reasons. One is enclosed offering the garden feel. The other presents an open view like sitting at a street café in Paris.
Hidden from view by the front of the store, St. Honoré on Carrera 2 in Chia has a small patio in the back. Large potted plants on two sides shield patrons from the adjoining stores in the strip mall. A vertical garden of unique design runs up the back wall. Umbrellas shield the tables from direct sun. And of course the treat choices at the coffee shop are well know for quality.
For the times when one wants to do a little people watching and not feel enclosed then the choice is Juan Valdez at Chia’s Bazaar Plaza . Four tables are under a glass covering extending from the small building housing the sales area. Two large umbrellas nearby cover additional tables. The mall has greenery planted around. The service at this Juan Valdez consistently is one of the best of all their shops we visit. And of course there are the cakes and cookies available at all their stores. We often take a tinto (black coffee) there either after lunch at Crepes and Waffles restaurant or before shopping for groceries.
Best for meal with your coffee – Probocatto
Sometimes we want a little more to eat with our coffee than just a snack. A full serve big menu restaurant is just too much. But as always taste is important. Probocatto fits the bill perfectly. From breakfast to dinner they have great choices. The morning meal choices range from many different styles of eggs to croissants and arepas. For lunch and dinner gourmet sandwiches fit the bill perfectly. Check out their website for the full menu.
Best in pan artesenal – Chez Moi
Sometimes we are in the mood for a special bread like pan de chocolate (chocolate bread) or *pan de naranja** (orange bread). The owner of the brightly colored coffee show featuring French inspired painted furniture studied at a Bogotá culinary school. Diana brought her talents to Chia on avenida Chilacos. It is not unusual to see her dressed in her chef coat talking to customers. Her coffee shop is unique to the area.
Best in handling small gatherings – El Kerub
A coffee shop is often a great place for gatherings of bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays and family gatherings. But most places are not equipped space and table wise to accommodate small parties. El Kerub in Cajica is different. They designed and built their coffee shop. And part of the design is an enclosed porch that has tables and chairs as well as a manner for decorations. It seems like every week there is some kind of a gathering there. And to top it off they have a parking lot as well as a swing set for kids. The owners told us they work to accommodate customer requests and one time even had a wedding there providing the priest for the ceremony.
Best in deserts – DPASO
Looking in Dpaso’s glass showcase almost makes one drool. The edible delights run from eclairs with arequipe or chocolate to cakes with different fruits. Color abounds in the selection. Located in the Fontanar mall we found it to be the quietest place in the establishment to enjoy a coffee. Thought in decoration shows and chairs are padded. Coffee comes served in a ceramic cup.
Best overall – Luna Café
My father use to use the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none.” I like that expression for Luna Café. Located just off the town square in Chia’s Centro Comercial Santa Lucia the shop does not specialize in any one area but does everything well. Though inside it is under a two-story glass ceiling and many of the tables have umbrellas. This gives it an open feeling. Chairs have a comfortable design to them. The multitude of cakes available in the glass showcase are baked by the owner. She displays not just a good sense for variety but also for embedding taste into each. Extra fruits make the plates visually appealing. Service is always efficient. It is not unusual to see groups of four to six retirement age men around a table drinking their coffee and, I assume, solving the problems of the world.