December 2013. That’s the last time I had a proper cappuccino. I say proper because I don’t know how else to describe the sensation I feel when that froth hits my mouth. All I know is that the cappuccino I’m used to drinking in Australia is a rare find outside of its shores. I don’t mean to be a snob. I haven’t drunk enough cappuccinos in my life to declare Australian cappuccinos are better than Colombian cappuccinos but they are definitely the best for me.
That is why it was a rare occasion when I ordered one last week just a few blocks from my apartment in Bogota.
I was looking for an escape from my computer screen one evening so I picked up my kindle, keys, some cash and made my way to Quipile, a cute little coffee shop in the hidden away neighbourhood of Parkway in La Soledad.
The indoor section seats about fifteen at most but they have a gorgeous patio out front with a few tables. On sunny days, it’s my favourite place to drink coffee, read or just people watch as the patio offers a front row view of the park.
Back to my cappuccino. As I said, I don’t usually drink cappuccinos outside of home turf but it was a chilly night and my belly wanted some warm milk with that caffeine.
“El cappuccino es Bueno?” I asked.
“Claro,” she responds. Of course.
I have a hard time trusting opinions of Colombians when it comes to the topic of food and drink as everything tends to be “divino” or “suuuuuuuuuuuper rico!!!” but she seems so confident I take the leap.
Minutes later, my drink arrives. All looks good. Steam. Check. Sugar. Check. Heart drawn in the froth. Check.
The first sip is the best. It’s times like these I wish I had a thick moustache just so I could lick the froth off of it. I have always felt that men with moustaches enjoy beer and cappuccinos way more than I do.
The cappuccino was legit and I knew I had found a new “spot.”
The next day I went back and met the owner, Eduardo Esquivel. I was curious about his story and how Quipile was born.
“Quipile is the name of the town where the coffee comes from. It is located in the department of Cudinamarca,” he said as I took a sip of my morning expresso.
Coffee is in Eduardo’s family. In 2008, he bought the coffee farm that his grandfather used to run and decided he wanted to help grow the coffee culture in Colombia.
Bogota has been going through a bit of a coffee renaissance in the past five or six years. Eduardo explained that back in the day, Colombians drank horrible coffee as all the good stuff was exported.
Just a few years ago, there was only a handful of coffee shops that offered top quality, locally roasted Colombian coffee including Quipile. As of today, a handful has grown into a new trend of hipster coffee shops popping up all over the city.
Eduardo gives credit to Amor Perfecto, a well-established new age coffee brand as well as Juan Valdez, the Colombian version of Starbucks. Even though he doesn’t think the coffee there is any good (I agree with his sentiments), he says they deserve credit for bringing the modern coffee shop culture to Colombia.
From my short conversation, I could tell that Eduardo takes his coffee very seriously. He’s a knowledgeable man who understands the value of the simple things in life. For regular coffee drinkers like myself, coffee is not just a beverage. It is a ritual and I can tell it’s the same thing for him.
Even if coffee ain’t your thang, Quipile serves hot chocolate, juices and tea. I have heard good things about their sandwiches and will definitely return soon to throw one down.
It’s a great place to chill and escape from the chaos of Bogota. One of the best features of this hideaway is that it has no wi-fi. It’s the perfect spot to read a book or look out the window as though you’re in deep thought. Just do yourself a favor and leave the phone at home.
Here are some photographs I took when Eduardo and his team of barristas gave me a mini-coffee tasting. It was a fun way to spend the afternoon, learning about and tasting coffee, as the drops of rain grew heavier outside.
El bon bon is a house specialty which is expresso and condensed milk.
For a bit of show, I decided to try out the “syphon”, a strange way of preparing coffee that involves a mini bunsen burner device. For a second I thought I was in Sherlock Holmes’s living room.
I thoroughly enjoyed the show but as Eduardo himself admits, the Syphon is not the best for those like me who crave a full flavored cup of coffee.
Quipile, Cafe de Origen
Avenida Carrera 24 (Parkway), # 42-71
Price Range – $3,000-$12,000