When most people think of gourmet coffee in South America, heavyweight producers like Colombia and Brazil typically come to mind. But visitors to Peru need not be discouraged—the country is actually a huge coffee producer in its own right, and it's becoming known for some serious organic and specialty coffees.
This certainly includes Lima, where coffee culture is in full swing. You can find plenty of cafés in Peru's capital, running the gamut from cozy and quaint to bustling and funky. Here's a list of those spots guaranteed to serve up a perfect brew. And if you want to fully immerse yourself in Peruvian food and drink, check out this 14-day gastronomic odyssey.
Arabica Espresso Bar
Arabica Espresso Bar is a little oasis of calm and peace in the seaside Miraflores neighborhood, with a super friendly staff and relaxed vibe. The latte is highly recommended, and best enjoyed on the outdoor patio. They offer culinary treats like quiches and desserts, and the relaxing music is a bonus as is the occasional drink special like 2x1 espressos. And if work responsibilities have followed you to Lima, Arabica is the perfect place to fire up the laptop for an hour or two.
Calle Gral Recavarren 269, Miraflores, Lima
Buena Vista Café
In any café culture, the ambiance of the location is (almost) as important as the quality of the brew. And for striking views and a relaxing vibe, you can't do any better than Buena Vista Café. Located on Lima's waterfront malecón in Miraflores, you'll indeed find quite a buena vista of the Pacific Ocean, which makes for a great sunset view. They do a wide range of Italian coffees—not to mention some stronger options like Irish coffee and a carajillo (a double-shot of espresso spiked with pisco, a local brandy). They also offer a solid breakfast and a range of desserts including churros with dulce de leche and an Oreo cheesecake that sends locals stampeding to the counter.
Cuadra 15 del Malecón Cisneros, Miraflores, Lima
La Bodega Verde
To enter La Bodega Verde (The Green Winery) is to feel like you're stepping into an open-air bistro in France. This popular spot in trendy Barranco seems to offer everything, from coffees and smoothies to sandwiches on artisanal bread and salads of the highest order. On weekdays, guests even get a free cappuccino if they can fashion an origami heart to the establishment's specifications (inquire with your server). They have a number of healthy breakfast options, like granola and fresh fruit, and are vegetarian-friendly, with vegan and gluten-free options. They also earn major bonus points for serving acai, the Brazilian super-food that's manna from heaven.
Jiron Mariscal Jose Antonio de Sucre 335A, Barranco, Lima
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La Mora Pasteleria & Café
Regarding cafés featuring an abundance of artisanal products and delectable desserts, La Mora gives La Bodega Verde a run for its money. Located in a beautiful space in Miraflores, they do gourmet sandwiches on fresh-baked bread (like any good French-inspired patisserie). The coffee menu is stellar, featuring quality standbys like americanos, café con leche (coffee with milk) and cappuccinos. But the dessert menu is where La Mora really earns its stars—it's like stepping into a sweet tooth's fever dream. The selection of cakes, tarts, and pastries are near limitless: you'll find macaroons, strudels, and eclairs, among many others.
Av. Grau 400, Miraflores, Lima
Neira Café Lab
Neira Café Lab's mad-scientist owner, Harrysson Neira, grew up with the smells of his grandmother's fresh-roasted coffee filling the house. He eventually rode those classic tastes and smells to become Peru's barista champion in 2013. The café fittingly combines his passion for fresh coffee with the same kinds of artisanal bread his grandma used to make. Many of his concoctions feature a Peruvian twist, like the cacaoccino, a drink made from local cacao—the beans used to make coffee and cocoa.
Calle Enrique Palacios 1074, Miraflores, Lima
The Coffee Road
The Coffee Road is a newer coffee shop (opened in 2014) whose founder, Alejandro Chu, eschewed the trendier neighborhoods of Miraflores and Barranco in favor of blazing a trail in Lima's financial district, San Isidro. The large space is comfy and artistic, with a design scheme not unlike a tinkerer's workshop (relics of old coffee machines abound). They brew up amazing French presses, espressos, Aeropresses and much more, all utilizing beans from farms in three regions in Peru: Junin, Amazonas, and Cajamarca. They even offer microbrew beers and tasty desserts like carrot cake.
Av. Guillermo Prescott 365, San Isidro, Lima
Out of all the coffee joints in Peru, Tostaduría Bisetti might be the most venerated. That's because it has a rich family legacy that traces its roots back to the Italian style of roasting beans. David Torres, the owner, is the grandson of Romulo Bisetti, a Peruvian/Italian coffee brewer who passed down his technique through generations. After honing his craft as a barista in New York, Torres returned to open his own space in Miraflores. It grew so fast they moved to a larger space in the hipster neighborhood of Barranco.
The secret to Tostaduría's success is simple: use only the finest organic beans from Peru's Cajamarca, Villa Rica, and Junin regions, and support sustainable growing practices. Their large Barranco space has a relaxed vibe, and there's a coffee lab on site where employees offer roasting courses to the public. Do try the Brew Fruit, a house specialty that mixes cold coffee and pineapple juice.
Av. Pedro de Osma 116, Barranco, Lima