By Joanna Bender
Ecuador is known for producing fine coffee, and yet most of that good coffee is exported to the United States and Europe. Locals often have to be satisfied with a basic coffee that is not fresh and filled with additives or preservatives.
Owner Jairo Farfan of the new Moliendo Aroma Café on Paucarbamba Avenue believes it is time for some of that fine coffee to stay in Ecuador and be enjoyed on a daily basis.
“We have Ecuadorian coffee that is freshly-ground on the spot – we do it when you order,” Farfan said. “You get the best aroma and taste that way.”
All of the coffee served at Moliendo Aroma Café comes from the Loja and Yantzaza regions in Ecuador, areas known for their high standards in coffee production. Farfan sells only organic coffee from Arabica beans with no artificial ingredients or additives. There are plenty of coffee house favorites to choose from – espresso, cappuccino, latte, mochaccino and more. He also serves a simple breakfast and pastries later in the afternoon.
Farfan started learning about coffee almost 10 years ago, when he worked as an administrator for his parents’ hotel in El Centro. One of his first lessons from a coffee distributor was how different ‘real’ coffee was from instant coffee such as Nescafé.
Moliendo Aroma Café is on Paucarbamba Avenue, behind EcuaMuebles and in the same small shopping center as the Ruta 66 diner and a large, modern laundry. Farfan also manages the laundry, which is right next door to the café. He has always had the property for the café but was just able to open the new business about 3 months ago.
“Ever since I was at the hotel, I had the idea of a coffee shop,” Farfan said. “Somewhere people can relax and enjoy breakfast or a cake with a cup of really good coffee and talk with friends. I want it to be like a small shop in Europe, more comfortable and homey.”
The food menu at Moliendo Aroma is simple, with breakfast items such as toast with eggs, bacon and fruit salad and choice of coffee or tea. Breakfast is under five dollars, and most coffees and coffee drinks range from $1-$2.25, with juices and teas available, too. Later in the day there are bolones, baked empanadas and pastries.
Farfan says that most of his business seems to come from the clinics and offices in the area during the week, from employees headed to work or on the way home. He hopes that Ecuadorians and expats alike will visit his shop, although he admits he would like to draw more customers from the United States, with their love of coffee and breakfast food. He is also optimistic that, since the shop is located on a main street and in a popular Cuenca neighborhood, more people who live in the El Vergel area will stop by or the tourists who are walking the rivers.
“I have many ideas on how to grow,” Farfan said, “but I want to start with doing basic things well. Right now I would appreciate customers giving me feedback on how we’re doing with just the coffee, the breakfast, and the atmosphere. And then we can go from there.”
What: Moliendo Aroma Café
Where: 2-72 Paucarbamba Avenue, between Manuel J Calle and Miguel Cordero
Hours: 7 am to 7 pm, Monday – Sunday. Breakfast until 12:30 pm.
Phone: 097 934 6004