Michael: Our 2013 list has been one of the most read blogs on our site. Peter D’Amato interviewed us for his July 7, 2014 article in the prestigious coffee magazine, Freshcup.
But we did not stop. To help bring readers the best of what we like to consider the real Bogotá coffee shops we hit the road again. Taking our coffee outside the house is pretty much an everyday routine for us. Often our search for great places in the city to partake of the black brew has us traveling for over an hour. And then none were visited just once, but several times.
Graciela: We do not cover just what places cater to tourists. Our list also includes those neighborhood panaderias, pastelerias and other places which offer coffee. The shops where real Bogotanos, who I believe are some of the pickiest coffee drinkers in the world, get their coffee.
To make our list requires more tha just great brew. Since coffee is something to be enjoyed and not just slugged down for its caffeine effect, we also consider atmosphere, choices to accompany your coffee and service.
Michael: It was not easy narrowing down the list to just ten. The competition to make your shop the best is tough in this city. My wife and I spent considerable time presenting our cases for each spot and then debating all their merits. We finally agreed. But because of the great number of places that came close we decided this year to add an few honorable mentions.
There are differences from our 2013 list. They came about for many different reasons. One of the most obvious changes is the elimination of a place that occupied our number two spot last year, Moksha. The shop first changed locations and then we heard the owner closed up deciding to do a little world traveling.
Ok, here we go.
-10- Oma Café in Santafé mall – Oma has many coffee shops and restaurants around the city. Most are located in malls. Last year their location in the Centro 93 mall made our list. But fantastic service on several occasions moved this site on to our favorites this year.
-9- The Pastry Shop Deli at the Unicentro mall – The sign says in pink letters “DELI Reposteria” which means they are excellent at cake decoration. That shows in their showcase where one can see some unique cakes. The company does have other locations around the city but this is our favorite. For tourists it is located near many of the better hotels listed in the Unicentro area of our hotel listing.
Though in a mall the place is quiet because it is actually a store and not out surrounded by the crowds as many mall coffee shops are. Most unique is it has to stories of seating. The second floor is an exceptionally nice place to avoid the feel of the rush and to leisurely enjoy your coffee.
-8- Pan Pa Ya at Paralela (to the Autopista) Avenida 45 104-12 – The company has approximately 30 locations throughout the city. You can pick up baked goods there. And they are some of the best places in the city for their breakfast menu. We have hit many of them because they are always a known quality. But this one, close to the Autopista and just a short ways from the Cesimin medical center goes beyond the rest offering a more delightful atmosphere. Of course you have to head to the second floor to get it. And a big plus, in our opinion is they even have a bathroom tucked away up there.
We are big fans of the tables by the window. There you can enjoy the comings and goings of the area while sitting in a nice padded chair.
-7- Juan Valdez at Porto Alegre – This location for the company made our 2013 listing. The employees continue to offer the great coffee and well known goodies to accompany your drink. And like many of their other locations there is a new addition to the menu, coffee with alcohol.
But what really puts this location on the list is the service. Those who take your order are always friendly and seem in a good mood. But most important is the way they have one person keeping all the tables clean and helping customers who have already received their drinks.
-6- 27 Café – It is an overall enjoyable place that made our top ten last year. However during the this past year they did suffer a little problem that was not their fault. The Niza mall on the corner of Avenida Suba and Calle 127 decided to enlarge their parking lot and outside seating area. The work often created much noise and reduced the outside seating place. That project is almost finished and it appears that the outside seating will be more enjoyable than before. Inside seating with the three walls of glass is comfortable. The continuance of quality service, coffee served in a nice cup and a descent selection of nice treats puts them on our list again this year.
-5- Nico Pan – No doubt about it, this is a great shop to enjoy a coffee. Order at the counter, they serve you to your table with coffee in a ceramic cup. Located across from San Juan de Avila church on Calle 134 about a block up from the Avenida 19 it is an excellent place to take breakfast before mass or enjoy a coffee and sweet afterward. Friendly staff, good service, pleasurable ambiance and large selection of goodies has it making our favorites for yet another year.
-4- Brot Bakery – The five star atmosphere along with good eats sees this coffee shop located at Calle 81 7-93 again on our top ten. our full review shows more of their delicious treats as well as their breakfast and lunch menu.
Excellence in the food choices and elegance in atmosphere puts Myriam Camhi on our list. Basically it is located on the other side of the street from our #4 choice and about a block away.
When in the area it is very difficult to choose which of the two locations to take our coffee. it often depends on what we are in the mood for as their offerings to accompany the coffee are different. Our complete write-up demonstrates why it made our list.
– 2- El Altillo – We had to keep going back to make sure it was as good as we initially thought. But every single time the place delivered on coffee, ambiance, service and that thing to delight the taste buds. They are the only place we have found serving agras cake. It is located in a tourist area of the city where you can also find one of our favorite restaurants and a place to purchase Colombian arts. We have both a writing and a video showing why El Altillo made our list.
-1- Juan Valdez Orígenes – Just like last year, a Juan Valdez takes our number one spot. This place is different than Juan’s other locations. Consequently the name is even different, Juan Valdez Orígenes. Same great coffee but here there is an improvement in the environment. Each of the four seating areas has a different feel. They range from the traditional Juan Valdéz to a roof top garden. Coffee is delivered to you and served in a ceramic cup. We have both a writing and video explaining more about this unique coffee shop.
Michael: We have three places that are worth mentioning. Of these Frespan located at Avenida 19 with Calle 134 near the Sopresas mall is my favorite. It is basically a panaderia (bakery) but has seating outside. Here they take your order and never give you a drink in a paper cup. But what really makes it for me is they have the best pan de queso (cheese bread) in the city. Many other seem to think the same as I do. There are ten tables and frequently all of them are occupied.
Graciela: Cinemania is one I like. The unique and ambiance makes it for me. It is really a coffee shop attached to a movie theater that specializes in art films. The location about a block from Parque 93 is in what my husband calls a gringolandia area of the city. I would much rather have my coffee there than any of the places around the park, none of which made our list.
Michael: Rounding out our honorable mentions is a place that made our list last year, Pan Fino. I just find it enjoyable sitting near the window watching the people pass by on the Septima (Carrera 7) near Calle 53. And I can never leave without purchasing a loaf of their artesenal bread.