It’s about ten o’clock in the morning on our first day in Lima. We’re in the back of a van, hurtling through Lima’s crazy-busy traffic, where the majority of drivers seem to steer with their horns. It’s all just another adventure, though, to David, our guide from the Lima Gourmet Company.
Our first stop — a nice touch, since we missed out on our hotel’s coffee this morning — is Bisetti, where local workers hand-roast organic Peruvian coffee:
Coffee saturates the joint, from the light fixtures (wicker baskets, perviously used to harvest coffee) to the decor (even the stained glass skylight depicts a coffee harvest). The real treat, though, is the little garden patio out back: a quiet, green space in the shadow of a small mountain of bougainvillea:
We sit just a few feet from the roaster. Smoke and steam billow out, scenting the air with with a nutty, chocolatey aroma.
We order cafe con leche. When the coffee arrives, it’s very strong, but not at all bitter.
Between sips, I ask, “Will we be able to get this at the hotel?”
David grins. “Nope. It’s crazy. This coffee has won prizes for being the best organic coffee in the world. But people here think that coffee from outside Peru must be better, just because it’s from outside Peru.”
I drain my cup. We stroll down a broad, paved walkway beneath cool green trees:
On the corner, just footsteps away from a coffee shop selling something real and local and authentic: a Starbuck’s, packed with Americans and locals, selling gallons of McCoffee jus as fast as they can brew it.