Five superb coffee shops in Quito
After spending 2 or 3 days in Ecuador, you would have realized that most locals drink instant coffee. Yes, that’s the sad truth. Moreover, it is shocking when you learn that Ecuador produces specialty coffee, so good quality coffee is indeed available. While most people will drink instant coffee because it is quick, cheap and easy to prepare, coffee lovers will not be pleased. Luckily, for those of us who appreciate a good cup of this delicious beverage, there are some great places in Quito, likely your first stop in Ecuador, where you can indulge in coffee.
Isveglio was the first coffee shop to offer specialty Ecuadorian coffees back in 2012. It also opened a barista school to train and teach people how to make the perfect cup of coffee. Most people, including locals, were not aware that Ecuador is a prime coffee producer! Sadly, we all thought that coffee comes from Colombia. Having chains like Juan Valdez in every corner, we can’t be blamed. But Isveglio had faith in local growers and has assisted them in the cultivation, harvesting and processing from plant to green bean. They roast their own coffee and always have a fresh batch of 3 different types from various regions in Ecuador. Their baristas will gladly explain the differences in taste and recommend the best preparation, such as a strong espresso, filtered coffee, or beverages with milk like a flat white or with chocolate, plus the unique cold brew. Enjoy a dessert, sandwich or salad while you savor your favorite drink. We suggest you order the coffee tasting menu of three mocaccinos with different cacao percentages, or the coffee pairing of three espressos with world-class Pacari chocolate bars.
La Floresta – Isabel La Católica N24-682 y La Coruña
Elegant and charming, that’s Café Traviesa. Since 2014, they use specialty coffees that they roast themselves in the same premises as the cafeteria, so you might smell the fresh aroma of roasted coffee when you visit. Today, they offer coffee from 5 different provinces in Ecuador: Carchi, Pichincha, Imbabura, Loja and Zamora Chinchipe. Their founder is a master roaster, trained in the USA, who provides roasting services to other cafeterias. Their menu features bruschettas and sandwiches that change with the seasons, so you’ll never get bored. Their sweets are delicious too, such as cheesecake. If you fancy something other than coffee, there is a selection of wines and beer, including local craft beers. For those keen to learn more about coffee, they offer various courses on coffee tasting, barista training and roasting.
Quito – Humboldt N27-77 y San Ignacio
Cumbayá – Datu Deli, Av. Pampite E3 y Vía Pillagua
3. Tres Gatos
This coffee shop and bookstore has become one of our favorite places ever since we discovered it a few months ago. They host events regularly with local artists and writers, so one week it could be a tango show, another a book presentation or a jazz concert. There are plenty of books for all tastes, from novels to poems to illustrations and biographies. You are not required to buy a book in order to check them out, so you can joyfully combine coffee with fine literature. Though most books are available in Spanish, you will find some interesting titles in English. Despite their cat-themed image, no felines are actually allowed in the shop, unfortunately. However, their specialty coffee and book selection won’t disappoint you.
La Mariscal – Mariscal Foch y Andrés Xaura, Ed. Torre Cantabria
Botánica is located in a quaint house in La Floresta, one of Quito’s emblematic neighborhoods. As the name suggests, decorations include plants and colorful flowers that give the place a cozy atmosphere. The menu includes various sandwiches and desserts that are prepared in-house with organic ingredients. Of course, the coffee is what attracted us to this garden house, where they use mostly Ecuadorian coffees, but also bring specialty coffees from other countries like Guatemala, Costa Rica and Brazil. If you are lactose intolerant, you can get almond milk for your cappuccino. And if it is one of those days when a coffee just won’t do, then you can ask for a cocktail, craft beer or wine.
La Floresta – Guipúzcoa E14-104 y Coruña
Opened in late October 2018, this traditional coffee house serves precisely the drinks, sweets and snacks that Quiteños have enjoyed for decades. Their menu is set to recover the classical afternoon coffee break that includes freshly brewed coffee, morocho (hominy porridge with milk), rosero (aromatic tea with fruits and hominy), chapo (barley drink), jucho (black cherry drink) and hot chocolate. There is a selection of alcoholic drinks featuring the emblematic canelazo (cinnamon tea with naranjilla, the latter a rare tomato-like fruit, and sugarcane liqueur), wines and craft beers, as well as fresh juices. You can accompany your choice of beverage with a pork sandwich, corn tortillas, empanadas, quinua salad, apple pie, carrot cake or what the chef might have planned for the day. This is a culinary journey into Quito’s most traditional coffee time delicacies.
La Mariscal – Carrión E9-41 y Plaza, Ed. El Libertador