If you are a chocolate or coffee lover (really, who isn’t?) you may be surprised to know that Peru has some of the best coffee and chocolate in the world. Chocolate actually originated in the Amazon and Peru owns 60% of the cacao varieties in the world. The large amount of diverse soils and climates makes for a variety of different flavor possibilities. Peru is the world’s ninth largest cacao producer and the world’s largest organic chocolate producer. Peruvian chocolate is of high quality, has a distinct rich flavor and recently one of the world’s rarest and most prized variety of cacao bean was re-discovered in its highlands.
Peruvian chocolate is receiving more and more recognition on an international scale. Some prizes include first place in the “Tree to Bar” category of the revered Academy Of Chocolate Awards in London for the amazona Chocolate company.
You may also be surprised to find that Peru also has some of the best coffee in the world and cultivates more than 3.2 billion 60 kg bags of the delicious brew each year. It’s the second-highest exporter of fair-trade coffee after Mexico. With delicious arabica coffee that grows perfectly in altitude it’s no surprise that Peruvian coffee has been selected among the best in the world, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the Small Producers Symbol (SPP).
Grab some coffee and a fine piece of chocolate to kick back and learn about the best places in Lima and Cusco that sell both of these delicious antioxidant treats.
The Choco Museo
Chocolate lovers will find their paradise and never want to leave in The Choco Museum located at Plaza Regocijo. Combining history and chocolate, the museum offers a bean to bar workshop where you will learn how to make your own chocolate bars by roasting and grinding cacao beans into a paste and refining it into your very own chocolate bar.
Other workshops include chocolate sculpting, tasting lessons, they of course sell amazing organic chocolate candies, pastries such as brownies and hot chocolate that is out of this world, as well as cacao-based beauty products. All their chocolate is sourced from local farmers and you can visit the plantation as well as the chocolate factory just outside of Cusco.
Monkey Coffee Cusco
Potent and delicious cups of coffee are found in this small and cozy coffee shop located at the top of San Blas hill. They take their coffee very seriously and all drinks feature double espresso shots from earthy local peruvian roasts. Great music, super friendly staff, delicious pastries and the beautiful photography that decorate the walls is just an additional treat compared to their excellent drinks.
Cafe Ayllu is one of the oldest and most traditional coffee places in Cusco. The word ‘Ayllu’ means family or community in the local Quechua language and this is what the family that founded Ayllu Coffee in 1970 have tried to preserve – a sense of family, community and tradition. Located on Almagro Street, it’s waitstaff has been there since its beginnings in the Plaza de Armas and is extremely popular with cuzqueños. They still use the recipe the founder created in its beginning which involves orange peel, raw onion and sugar for a particular house blend. If you want traditional old-school Cusco style coffee and a glimpse into local culture you can’t miss traditional cafe.
Art filled with colorful paintings, chairs and tables made from recycled materials give this funky cafe an enchanting and charming ambiance. It also works as an art gallery, but they are well known for their delicious specialty coffee drinks and their extensive selection of teas, excellent desserts & savory snacks. Good music and a friendly staff make this beautiful San Blas Cafe a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
The Choco Museo Miraflores
The Chocolate Museum has a few locations in Lima but our favorite is the large location on Berlin street in the popular district of Miraflores. As soon as you walk in the smell of chocolate alone, will make you smile and never want to leave. Here you will learn about the history of chocolate, fun cacao facts and visit the artisanal factory where they make different types of chocolate products like cacao tea, chocolate liqueur and chocolate bars. Their workshops are well known, especially the popular “bean to bar” and their kid friendly workshops are a great choice for some family fun. The staff is super friendly and welcome walk ins to their popular workshops or you can just stop by for some excellent organic chocolate candy bars or pastries.
Hand-crafted chocolate bars, bonbons and truffles made from different Peruvian cacaos so beautifully painted you almost feel sad about eating such pretty pieces of art. They use three different types of organic chocolate bases to create more than thirty flavor combinations with Pisco, Maras salt, pistachio, lucuma or limo chilli peppers, among others. Hand- painted and with unique flavors found nowhere else, makes it easy to see why they were considered one of the top ten best chocolate shops in the world by National Geographic. They also offer chocolate tasting kits with Peruvian cacaos and kits for chocolate pairings with different beverages. Their chocolate boxes are the best gift to take back home as a souvenir.
Of Italian descent, Romulo Bisetti established a coffee house in 1958 with a vision of selling great peruvian coffee and in a style ahead of its time in the district of Breña. Sixty years later, his great-grandson opened Tostaderia Bisetti in the center of the bohemian Barranco district and quickly turned it into an obligatory stop for coffee lovers. They source from different peruvian organic coffee co-oops and create their own blends in their in-house coffee lab where baristas roast, blend and experiment with new flavors. You can schedule a tasting and roasting lessons in their lab. The passion that David and his team of Baristas has shows in every cup of delicious peruvian coffee. Be sure to accompany your coffee with one of their well-known delicious desserts.
This small coffee shop is a quiet little place with a distinctive red door that welcomes you in for some peace and quiet even though its blocks away from Kennedy Park. Filled with locals coming and going, Arabica serves a perfect cup of ethically sourced coffee every time. Their pastries, especially their carrot cake is also well known. Probably one of the first espresso bars opened in Lima, they have preserved their excellent coffee menu.
Café Puku Puku
Two friends decided to open a responsible farm to table coffee shop, working directly with small coffee farmers and using only micro lots of the finest organic peruvian coffee. Their coffee menu is simply spectacular, from traditional Cappuccinos and Cold brews to Capuchato (small, tasty and cold cappucchino) and vietnamita (espresso with condensed milk). Their first location was made up of 70% recycled materials and their now five locations follow this upcycled model of decor. If you love coffee, you must try a strong and rich drink at one of their pet-friendly and nicely decorated locations.