Sex and Coffee in Bogota

It looks like a sex shop.  It has a bright red facade with the words “Amor perfecto” (“Perfect Love”) in white lettering and a little sign on top that depicts only a heart.  Indeed, if I hadn’t been told explicitly on several occasions that it wasn’t a sex shop, I’d probably still think it was.

I go there for the first time with my Swiss computer programmer roommate Victor.  Victor gets a latte and I an aeropress. We sit in one of the booths, which is the color of a bouquet of roses.  The seats are a little too close together.  It’s a little too intimate.  I don’t remember exactly what we talked about.  I think we might’ve talked about Africa.

The coffee looks exquisite.  It’s served in a glass carafe and has an opaque quality, as if Monet accidentally spilled the contents of his palette into a jar and mixed them until they were brown.  It tastes exquisite, too — it has that plant-like, almost tea-like flavor that I associate with good coffee.  It’s not even in the same league as the tinto (drip) that’s usually served in Colombia.  I would argue that tinto shouldn’t even be called coffee.  It’s like piling a mound of snow in your backyard and calling it a ski resort.  No, this cup of coffee is the real deal. Finally, Colombia.  Finally.

Victor and I continue to talk about Lord-knows-what.  I remember saying at least three times, “Dude, this place looks like a sex shop.  They need to change the entry.”  I like Victor — he’s a real snake in the grass.  He’s smart and modest and insightful.  Plus he has a ponytail.  And not a ponytail to be cool — he just likes having a ponytail.

On the way out I ask the guy working if the differences between the different methods of coffee preparation — V60, chemex, syphon, aeropress, French press — are really that noticeable.

“If you were blindfolded,” I say, “could you tell the difference?”

“What do you know about blindfolds?” he says, winking, while the female employee produces a short leather whip and what appear to be wrist cuffs.

Actually, this doesn’t happen.  The guy says, “Oh, absolutely.  For instance, the difference between an aeropress and a French press? Massive.”

Sure, buddy, I want to say, but instead just nod my head and say, “Oh.”

Outside, Victor starts down the street toting his ponytail.  I stop again to admire the heinous facade and think again, They really need to change that.  At least include the word coffee somewhere. As we’re walking away I think I hear the crack of a whip and the shrill call of female laughter, but it might just be the screech of brakes on Carrera 4.  I trot to catch up with Victor, leaving Bogota’s best sex — coffee shop behind.

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