A Coffee Lover’s Guide to Cusco
If you’re like me, there is nothing that gets a day started better than a cup of coffee. In Europe or the USA, coffee cultures are highly unique. In New York, you might go to the same shop every day for the same drink. In Spain or Italy, you might have an espresso in the evening to wake up after a midday nap. No matter how you take your coffee, there is no denying that many people in the world crave it and need it to get through the day. South America is one of the world’s top coffee producers. Coffee plants need a highly specific climate in order to be as delicious as possible, and South America has just the climate the plant needs. From high altitudes to jungles and Cloud Forests, the climates provide a perfect home for coffee beans to grow in. While Africa is also a producer of some of the world’s best coffee, the mountains of South America are some of the richest in the world for coffee. The temperature at these heights is mild, which coffee plants need to develop their sweetness. In Cusco, the coffee culture is a unique blend of tradition and tourism. With the millions who flock to Cusco every year to visit such incredible history, many will likely be looking for coffee to fuel their Inca Trail hikes and Visits to Machu Picchu. Grab a cup of joe and explore the options to visit Machu Picchu through Southern Peru Explorers, For the coffee lover in Cusco, here is everything you need to know.
Coffee in Peru is Unique and Tasty
If you’re a big coffee nerd, you might already know about the coffee of Peru. It’s rich, a bit acidic, and aromatic. Many use it in Latin America Blends as it does not dominate the flavor profile. Production is focused mostly on Arabica, one of the varieties of the coffee plant, and is concentrated in three main areas, mostly those with good proximity to ports. Most coffee is farmed by local farmers, managed by hand, and exported to the US or Europe, but some is packaged and sold locally, and is a wonderful way to connect with a place.
Coffee or Coca? Pick Your Poison
In the USA, morning beverage choices are an either-or proposition. Are you a tea person or a coffee person? Peru is very similar, but most people choose Mate de Coca, or Coca Tea. The working man will even chew a mouthful of raw coca leaves to get a morning buzz. Most restaurants serve Mate de Coca, and many even serve coffee too. Everyone visiting Peru should try Mate de Coca, but for the real caffeine adicts it won’t be hard to find, especially close to the historic/touristic center, where you can throw a rock and hit a café serving the good stuff.
Sometimes We All Need a Starbucks
While we all should branch out and experience local things when we travel, sometimes the best option is the comfort of home. Travel can be overwhelming, and something as important as coffee should be simple. Starbucks makes it easy for us, especially early in the morning when you’ve just arrived and don’t have it in you to navigate a new coffee culture. If your hotel doesn’t have it, Starbucks will, and it’s just like you’d get at home. Baristas are kind and helpful, even if your Spanish is weak. Besides, nowhere else will you find an iced coffee if you don’t care to make it yourself. Try the local Peruvian flavors, in the Plaza de Armas or the second floor of the Real Plaza.