While roaming the colorful streets of Cartagena de Indias, stop by to one of the best cafés in Colombia to sip some serious espresso or cold-brew. The café scene in Colombia is developing fast: today you can drink the best coffee in the world in the country that produces it!

I’m an irritatingly picky coffee drinker who approves only prime, high-grown beans and prefers to skip the average coffee. So, I usually end up being a tea-drinker during our holidays. We’ve visited several coffee producing countries, such as Tanzania, Rwanda, and Nicaragua – and I’ve got used to getting just one good cup of coffee (or none) during those trips. Luckily, Colombia turned the tables. I’ve already listed our favorite cafés in Bogota, so now is time to look at the quirky coffee houses of Cartagena!

Café San Alberto

Calle Santos de Piedra #3-86, Cartagena (diagonal to the cathedral)

If you take your coffee extremely seriously, there might be only one place that will cater your specialty coffee needs in Cartagena: Café San Alberto inside the old town. But one perfect little café is more than enough! We ended up getting our caffeine fix there every day. Their take on the science of coffee is humbling.

The coffee of San Alberto claims to be the most award-winning coffee in Colombia. They call it super-premium: the single origin beans are produced under their 5-step selection process, in the spirit of French wine-making. The coffee comes from their own Hacienda de San Alberto, located in Buenavista region. The beans meet my strict coffee geek criteria: they’re grown high enough (1500–1800 meters above sea level) and wet-processed.

But how does it taste? Think of dark chocolate and caramel, juicy and balanced acidity. I loved every cup I had there: from espresso to cold brew and siphon – and Piritta loved their mochaccinos, as well. Yes, they provide all the brewing methods you could think of. And the interior is lovely, as well, pouring the story of the coffee with images and fact sheets. The upper floor feels more private than buzzing (and hot!) street level and wifi might lure you to stay longer than planned. And don’t worry, if you’re not a coffee geek, the knowledgeable baristas are happy to explain the different brewing methods if you’d like to taste something else than a cappuccino. They offer coffee tasting sessions, as well!

My only regret was that Cartagena was the first stop during our 4-week tour in Colombia, so it made no sense to drag the coffee bags for one month – and the beans wouldn’t have been at their best when we finally returned home. Maybe next time I’ll travel with my beloved AeroPress and Hario Skerton Coffee Mill – I’ve been thinking about it for years since they take such a little room in luggage!

Café San Alberto has catered the coffee aficionados of Cartagena since 2015. You’ll get your fix cheaper elsewhere, but it’s hard to match their standards. They’re even the exclusive distributor of Hario and Chemex in Colombia. Praise the beans!

Roaming the streets of Cartagena in search of the best cafés – can't blame the views!
Café San Alberto inside the old town of Cartagena caters your specialty coffee needs with their super premium, wet-processed beans
Café San Alberto inside the old town of Cartagena caters your specialty coffee needs with their super premium, wet-processed beans
Café San Alberto in the old town of Cartagena provides all the brewing methods needed to showcase their specialty coffee beans

Café de las Novias

Calle 25 #8B-126, Cartagena

Hidden on the quiet street in Getsemani, Café de Novias is a pleasant spot for a cake. Compared to Café San Alberto, their coffee is just average, but the cakes and weird wedding themed interior make it up. Go for the cakes and wedding planning if you are in the need! Yes, it’s a wedding planning shop turned into bakery slash coffee house (novia translates into bride).

Café del Mural

Carrera 9a (Calle San Juan) #25-60, Cartagena

Another praised café in Getsemani, which takes their beans seriously. Based on what I’ve heard, I’d highly recommend tasting their take on the specialty coffee of Colombia, though many seem to prefer San Alberto. In my eyes, Café de Mural appears to have more experimental and underground coffee lab feel. To my regret, they open at 3PM after which I limit my caffeine intake. If you’ve visited Café de Mural, please share your experience in the comments below!

Época Espresso Bar

Calle de Arzopispado, Carrera 5 #34-52, Cartagena

Not far from Plaza de Bolivar, Época Café quenches your thirst of espresso in the historical center. The coffee is roasted on the spot and they sell a variety of beans. Época’s signature drink is Carajillo Ahumado (espresso with Aguardiente, sugar cane and cassia).

Ábaco Café y Libros (Bookstore Café)

Calle de La Iglesia #3-86, Cartagena (on the corner of Calle de La Mantilla)
Visit this charming bookstore café for the love of books and coffee cocktails: cold brew or espresso-based drinks.

Boundless Mezcal Café

Plaza de los Coches, Calle 34, #7-33, Cartagena

One more exciting venue to the bucket list, if you love mezcal and coffee. Weird combination to me, but why not!

Juan Valdez Café

There are several branches on Juan Valdéz Café in Cartagena (and other big cities of Colombia). If they’re on your route, feel free to get your fix. Long story short, Juan Valdéz Café isn’t my favorite, and you can read more my opinions about them in the article on the best cafés of Bogotá.

If you’ve sampled great coffee in Cartagena, please share your favorite café in the comments below!

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Taste the best coffee beans in Colombia inside the walled old city of Cartagena. Browse the best cafes for a specialty coffee geek!

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