March 25, 2019
One of the last things you might expect to find when visiting rural Guatemala is a world class coffee shop, but that's exactly what you'll discover right here on Lake Atitlan. Tucked in behind some artisan stands, on Calle Santander, the cities busiest street, sits Cafe Loco waiting to greet travelers. A feature beginning to every Hiptipico tour, we know them for more than just the talent that goes into every cup, they're a part of the Hiptipico family. Literally- Hiptipico founder Alyssa and Cafe Loco founder DJ got married in 2016, but their story goes back farther than that.
Unknowingly moving to Guatemala within the same 24 hour window in 2011,the pair didn't meet until 2013, when Cafe Loco opened it's doors in 2013. At the time, only two "Locos" as we now call them were working at the coffee shop, Martin and of course, DJ. To say things have taken off since then is an understatement, as now there's a full time staff of 6, handling everything from sourcing to roasting and touring to pouring the perfect cup (unrivaled latte art inlcuded).
Despite growing exponentially, some things still remain the same at Cafe Loco. Much like Alyssa founding Hiptipico, DJ founded a social business. Cafe Loco works with micro-lot coffee producers, connecting buyers with high quality, ethically sourced coffee that helps produce a sustainable market. The same way we connect with buyers all around the world and help educate on textile sourcing and the positive impact a purchase from artisans can have.
Buyers from all around the world fly in to work with DJ and travel with him to small, privately owned coffee farms in rural Guatemala, learning about the process behind a specialty cup of coffee. Visiting fincas first hand and seeing the specific techniques used by each farm, coffee distributors can make the best, most informed decision based on growing and roasting methods. Not to mention, DJ was named the best cupper in S. Korea in 2005, so they can rest easy knowing they're getting the beans with the best flavor too.
When you walk into Cafe Loco, you can be sure you're about to receive one of the best cups of coffee you'll ever have. The loco's are the absolute best of the best when comes to being a barista, and they're so much more than that. They practically eat, sleep, breathe coffee. 24/7 may seem like an overstatement, but with their hours being 9am to 8pm and only being closed on Monday to roast and source more coffee, they are the definition of coffee people. Really, theres a reason people travel from all over Guatemala just to take home some coffee beans or a bottle of cold brew.
Cafe Loco is a special place, bringing people together from all over the world to enjoy a cup of coffee and understand what goes into every pour. They make our days a little brighter and more energetic, and we're proud to share their hospitality with every Hiptipico guest. Join us and come sit, have a cup or two and enjoy the view. This specialty coffee shop in the heart of Guatemala will soon feel like home to you too. Don't worry, when you start to miss the heartwarming feeling of a diverse group sharing a moment over an ethically brewed cup- we can send it straight to your door.