We were walking around the main square of Salento, a beautiful, traditional, colonial town in Colombia’s Coffee Region, with houses so colourful you feel as though you’re in a sweet factory. Children in identical outfits were running around the plaza, while old men wearing cowboy hats and denim stood in front of the village church, talking to each other without taking their gaze from the distance in front of them.
We took our photos quickly, at odds with the atmosphere of the village, because we wanted to drive to Santa Rosa hot springs before it got dark. We paced up an adjacent street, cameras in tow, snapping photos safe in the knowledge that the buildings would do all the hard work for us. When
we returned to the plaza our guide looked thoughtful. He had an idea, he told us, but it might mean missing the sunset in Santa Rosa.
Naturally we were sceptical, but once he unveiled his plan we couldn’t help but be intrigued. He knew of a place nearby, he elaborated, that sold the best coffee he’d ever had. Now it’s not often a Colombian will definitively tell you such a thing, since there’s such a wide variety of options here. The place was just down the road on a little side street that could easily be missed. In need of a pick-me-up anyway, we chose the coffee.
We weren’t disappointed.
Cafe Jesus Martin is a small coffee shop half a block from Salento’s main square. Coffee beans were chosen specifically by the cafe itself, ensuring the best quality of coffee in every cup. The interior is something like a Parisian cafe with a distinctly South American flavour (i.e., to use the toilet you have to enter what seems like someone’s house) and the service is excellent. There’s a three page menu full of options and each sounded as tempting as the next. I went for a Cafe Nevado, an espresso with chocolate and cream. The results? Well, our guide was right. That day in Salento we not only saw the charming village and enjoyed its relaxed atmosphere – we tasted the best coffee any of us had ever had.
You can find Cafe Jesus Martin here: Tienda Salento Cra 6 # 6-14 y, Quindio, Colombia