The Guatemalans apparently like things very hot. This is particularly true of their coffee. After a morning of exploring the ruins of Tikal, near the site’s entrance and a scale model of the entire site, there was a museum and a few vendors selling tourist items.
I was happy to find a small café, Café de Guatemala, situated in the center of it all. The owner was a jovial relatively young Guatemalan with a warm central American smile and a greeting to match. His diminutive wife worked just next door at a stand selling t-shirts and other tourist items. She was quite lovely and they seemed to enjoy working next to each other. As an aside, it is a rarity that I am the tallest person at any meeting, but this was clearly one of those rare occasions.
Having been latte-deprived for a few days, I ordered a latte. As I sat at one of the four stools at the counter, I watched as the owner expertly navigated the proper and quite expensive espresso hardware. The hissing sound of steaming milk, a sound to which I have a Pavlovian response, made me very happy.
The latte itself was quite good, save one minor detail. It was served hotter than Hades. Be forewarned when sipping a latte in Guatemala – you must wait a good five minutes for it to cool down before you drink it lest you burn yourself. I found this to be true not only at Café de Guatemala, but all over the country.
Even though the location is far from the center of any activity, by far this was one of the best lattes I’ve had in Central America.
Any trip to Tikal must include a stop at Café de Guatemala.