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Guatemala is one of the world’s finest producers of coffee, and if you find yourself in Antigua, you’re in a great spot to learn more about the local production, get involved in workshops and try some of the locally-produced goods. As with most great coffee regions, the bulk of the good stuff is exported to the likes of the USA and Europe, but fear not, there is still plenty of good coffee to be found around the country’s old capital of Antigua Guatemala (along with plenty of things to do there!).
After spending 5 weeks in this city, we’ve collated a list of our favourite cafés in Antigua Guatemala; cafes that not only serve up great java, but offer you a little something different as well.
So without further ado, in no particular order, the 5 best cafés in Antigua Guatemala:
1. Café Estudio
With a very relaxing vibe, Estudio is a great place to hang out, catch up or get your head down and do some work. They have a nice quiet main room as well as ample outdoor space in the rear courtyard. They also boast probably the best coffee, in our opinion, you can find in Antigua. Some delicious flavour varieties make it a must visit for any coffee lover – aside from coffee, we also loved the chai!
Recommended:The cortados here are great and the 2 x cappuccinos for 25Q is a good deal if you come as a pair.
2. Café La Parada
The location of La Parada is awesome, overlooking Parque La Merced and the stunning yellow church, Iglesia de la Merced. It’s a great place to sit back and watch the world go by, especially during weekends when the park fills with street food vendors. You can even sit on wooden benches right in the doorway to be right on the streetside if you want to feel part of the action; and don’t be surprised if the locals on the benches greet you on your way in and out.
The staff are always friendly and whoever sorts the playlists deserves a bonus; I’m talking tune after tune after tune.
They do a banging jar of iced coffee for just 15Q and have some nice cakes, sandwiches and empanadas if you fancy a snack too.
Recommended: Iced coffee or hot chocolate.
3. Y Tu Piña También
This quirky little café has a great menu for brunches and an even better one for smoothies. As you may have guessed, the coffee is also very good here and they have a very tasty and reasonably-priced cortado at just 10Q. They nail the hipster vibe, and the cosy feel to the place makes you feel instantly welcome.
As far as we could work out, the place is owned by American expats and all staff are fluent in both Spanish and English.
Recommended:Literally anything, it all looked and/or tasted great.
This place has a nice rustic design with various coffee antique items and repurposed coffee sacks used on the furniture. The coffee is great and there’s plenty of options for how you want your coffee made, with modern and traditional methods available.
What is great about Guatejava however (as well as the name), is that they roast all their own beans on-site and you can take part in a coffee roasting workshop yourself for 180Q, a little over $20 USD. You can buy bags of their coffee too and read up on their sustainable approach to coffee production, buying from farmers who typically have the hardest route to market.
Recommended:Try out some of the less common drip coffees.
5. Refuge Coffee (Café Refugio)
Another of the cafés in Antigua that roast their own beans and serve up great quality Guatemalan coffee. Refuge is a good space to work as well with plenty of plugs and little street noise (though the WiFi can be a little on the weak side), not to mention a loyalty programme giving you your 11th cup for free. Not the greatest loyalty scheme in the world, but if you’re around for a couple of weeks (and once you try the coffee) you’ll be more than happy to knock back ten coffees here.
The vibe is also really cool, with a nice bit of buzz and the classic edge-y look with dangling Edison bulbs. You can also expect the barista to strike up a friendly conversation with you while you sip!
Recommended:Gibraltar; we have no idea why it is called this, but this is about as close we’ve got to a perfect cortado in as long as we can remember, and even comes in a glass, as all good cortados should (but cortados out here rarely do!).
So there you have it; not quite an exhaustive list as Antigua is blessed with hundreds of great cafés, but a few definitely worth trying if you find yourself roaming the cobbled streets of Antigua and in need of either perking up or chilling out!
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