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.