After some extensive personal research, I give you my top picks of the best independent to small coffee roasters in the El Poblado area of Medellín. Enjoy!

My foray into coffee drinking came rather late in life.  At 33 to be exact. I developed the habit whilst going through a dramatic personal life change – a divorce. My co-worker Catherine was also divorcing her husband at the time, and we started to meet for coffee breaks to swap stories and console each other. I despised coffee at that time and to hide the bitter taste I started drinking vanilla lattes from Starbucks. Hardly a real coffee, I know. Now.

By the time the paperwork had been filed, I was left with a craving for a coffee every time my mood felt low. Coffee became a learned association with happiness and comfort – classic Pavlov’s dog theory.

Around the same time, my older brother Mike began his coffee obsession. He had taken the traditional route into coffee drinking as a college student. But now in his thirties, he started studying every detail of coffee preparation in order to get the perfect cup. Over the years, along with him, I learned about beans, coffee regions, roasting, grinding, and espresso machines.

From these origins, I developed a compulsion to seek out the best coffee shops in each city I visit. From Hanoi, Vietnam to Auckland, New Zealand, to Daegu, South Korea, I’ve spent eight years exploring the world looking for the best coffee on offer.

This obsession goes beyond the coffee itself. For me drinking a cup of coffee is an immersive experience. Just as important as the coffee is the ambience of the cafe. The background music, the quirkiness of the interior design, and even the attitude of the baristas is scrutinized before I deem a coffee shop worthy of one of the best in the city.

And so, here’s my list of the top five independent coffee roasters in El Poblado, Medellín. These are in no particular order. I much prefer all of these coffee roasters to the Starbucks coffee shops that have been popping up in El Poblado. Note the above photo is from Pergamino Cafe.

For the most authentic Flat White in Medellín, head to Hija Mia Coffee Roasters in Bario Manila

For the most authentic Flat White in Medellín, head to Hija Mia Coffee Roasters in Bario Manila

1. Hija Mia Coffee Roasters

Shaun, the proprietor, was perched at the counter on a white metal bar stool when I walked into the alfresco premises of Hija Mia Coffee Roasters on a balmy Wednesday afternoon.

I had never met him, but my landlord told me that the cafe was run by a fellow New Zealander, and the swirl of a black Maori tattoo peeking out from below the edge of his left t-shirt made me pretty certain it was him. I made my introductions – after ordering a flat white of course – and began pressing Shaun for information.

Hija Mia – literally translated as ‘My Daughter’ in Spanish – opened two years ago.  The name is an old Antiqouian term of endearment equivalent to ‘darling’ or ‘sweetheart’ that his father-in-law uses regularly. Shaun got into coffee roasting through his sister, who used to work for a large-scale coffee roasters in New Zealand. He learned a lot from and setting up his own roasters in one of the world’s best coffee growing region’s seemed a logical progression after Shaun decided to settle in Medellín.

Hija Mia has a real Antipodean ambience.  From the teal porcelain ACME cups from New Zealand to the bespoke expresso machine from Melbourne, the whole cafe oozes the laid-back style of this part of the world.  Except for the coffee.

Squeezed inside this 12-seater cafe is a small North 3 kilo coffee roaster. Shaun roasts a fresh batch of Colombian beans in-house once a week to keep up with the demand of cups sold on site and ground bags taken home.  The air was still radiating heat from that morning’s roast.

There is something special about a cafe that has its own roaster on site and whose owner hangs around ‘shop’ all day.  As a digital nomad, I crave locally run, independent cafes that can provide a sense of belonging in an increasingly segregated world.  And Hija Mia does just that.

Location: Carrera 43B # 11-9, Barrio Manila

Drink Recommendation: Flat White (4,500COP)

Food: Quiches; Sweet and savory pastries; Brownies with ice cream.

Hours: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday to Friday; 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Saturdays.  Closed Sundays.

Website: http://hijamiacoffee.com/    

The industrial chic interior of Urbania Cafe offers a tranquil retreat for a one of the best cups of coffee in Medellín

The industrial chic interior of Urbania Cafe offers a tranquil retreat for a one of the best cups of coffee in Medellín

2. Urbania

Urbania is another great little coffee shop find away from the hub of El Poblado.

The name Urbania is in reference to bringing the best bean of the countryside to the city. This little gem of a cafe also opened its doors in 2015, and offers a very tranquil setting to sip up some caffeine.

But don’t let the understated, rustic decor fool you, Urbania pours up some of the highest quality coffee in Medellín. Like most of the independent roasters in town, Urbania sources its beans from coffee growers in Antioquia and Tolima.

It is a pocket-sized cafe with a very mellow ambience. The perfect cafe for those times you want to hide away from the world and sip in quiet reflection.

Location: Carera 43B # 8-132

Drink Recommendation: Cold Brew

Food: Muffins, Pastries and Baked goods.

Hours: Mondays to Fridays from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm Saturdays and Festivals: noon to 8:00 pm

Website: https://www.facebook.com/urbaniacafe/

Cafe Velvet offers a Belgium themed cafe in the heart of El Poblado

Cafe Velvet offers a Belgium themed cafe in the heart of El Poblado

3. Velvet

One of the expat favorites is Cafe Velvet, rivaling Pergamino across the street and up a few doors. More on that later.

For me, Velvet has a more relaxed vibe and more spaces to work. Also, as most of the seating is tucked off the main thoroughfare, there is less approaches by locals selling their wares. It still happens if you hang out on the patio, but not as frequently as at Pergamino.

Like all the other independent roasters in town, Velvet offers all of your traditional favorite coffee drinks to a range of slow coffees. Cold brew is also on offer here.

For true coffee aficionados, Velvet is currently offering a limited edition natural Geisha variety of coffee from the finca La Esperanza, Quindio. Geisha or Gehsa is believed to have originated in the mountainous Gesha village of Ethiopia before being imported to Central and South America via Panama. It has recently become the creme de la creme in the high-end coffee world. Forget Kopi Luwak (aka cat poop coffee from Indonesia) and Kona, Geisha is now where it’s at.

For non-aficionados, you just need to know that there are lots of varietals of coffee – just like there are varieties of grapes. Geisha is one of these. Growing in popularity amongst V60 method drinkers, this particular bean has been grown at an altitude of 1800 meters and has a sweet aroma with notes of jasmine and offers a medium body characterized with green tea and acidity.

Cafe Velvet has been operating in Medellín since 2014, and started roasting in early 2015 after importing a Porbatone 5 to use in their special roasting plant in Itagüí. It is the creation of Ilse Geynkens, a Belgian lawyer, who became interested in coffee and the region whilst working for an NGO in Colombia in 2012.

Definitely worth a stop if you are in the area. Oh, and order the carrot cake.  The best torta de zanahoria in the city.

Location: Carrera 37 #8A-46, Vía Primavera.

Drink Recommendation: V60 Geisha Natural.

Food: Pastries, cakes, empanadas, quiches, sandwiches, and eggs. 

Hours: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday to Saturday; 11:30 am to 8:00 pm Sundays.

Website: http://cafevelvet.co/

Undoubtedly one of the most well-known coffee shops in town is Pergamino, which is always packed

Undoubtedly one of the most well-known coffee shops in town is Pergamino, which is always packed

4. Pergamino Cafe

For the trendiest coffee shop in town, head to Pergamino Cafe. It is the coffee shop to ‘see and be seen’ at. It’s for the hipsters. The digital nomads in town. You’ve probably already been there. It is the best known independent coffee shop in Medellín and tons has been written about it. Even the Huffington Post has done a review.

So, I’m not sure what new I can tell you about the place.

Their signature coffee is called Lomaverde after their main farm located in the mountains of Santa Barbara, south of Medellín. This farm has an altitude between 5,400 and 6,400 feet above sea level, providing the ideal climate to grow coffee beans. Which in turn produces a Flat White with a very sweet, smooth and bright profile. I like to have mine with a warm galleta (cookie).  In this case, chocolate chip.

Like Creator, you can have your coffee in a variety of preparation methods from Chemex, French Press, Aeropress and Siphon.

As for the brand name, Pergamino refers to the outer shell that covers green coffee before dry milling.  In case you were wondering like me.

If you only visit one coffee shop whilst you are in Medellín, then go to this one.

Location: Carrera 37 # 8A-37, Vía Primavera

Drink Recommendation: Cold Brew Guandolo (6,900 pesos)

Food: Cookies, Cake, Baked empanadas, quiches, and croissants. A small breakfast menu is served daily from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm with a selection of baked egg dishes and granola.

Hours: Monday to Fridays 8:00 am to 9:00 pm; Saturdays 9:00 am to 9:00 pm; Sundays 10:00 am to 6:30 pm

Website: https://pergamino.com.co/ 

For the best breakfast with a great cup of coffee, head to Al Alma

For the best breakfast with a great cup of coffee, head to Al Alma

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The Best of Medellín

Besides this article about the five best coffee shops in El Poblado, Medellin Guru has several more articles about the best restaurants and coffee shops in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley:

  1. 19 Best Restaurants in Laureles in Medellín
  2. 15 Best Restaurants in Envigado, Colombia
  3. 15 Best Restaurants in Sabaneta, Colombia
  4. 14 Best Pizza Places in Medellín: The Best Pizzerias in the City
  5. 13 Best Burgers in Medellín: Best Burger Places in the Aburrá Valley
  6. 12 Best Steakhouses in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
  7. 12 Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in El Poblado
  8. 10 Best Mexican Restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
  9. 9 Best Colombian Restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
  10. 9 Best Italian Restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
  11. 9 Best Places for Brunch in El Poblado
  12. 5 Best Independent Coffee Shops in El Poblado
  13. 8 Top Coffee Shops in Laureles
  14. 5 Best Nano/Micro Breweries in Medellín

Also, we have several additional best of Medellín articles:

The Bottom Line: El Poblado Coffee Shops

These are our picks for El Poblado coffee shops or coffee roasters, but we would love to know your favorites.

Leave a comment below with your favorite coffee shop in El Poblado and we’ll be sure to check it out.

Also, we have looked at eight top coffee shops in Laureles.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

Editors note: updated on June 19, 2018 to remove Creador Cafe in Parque Lleras, which is no longer in business.

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