What is now Quilla Café started operating in 2014. The owner, Gonzalo Valenzuela, had been living and working in Montreal, Canada when his father became ill. This life event caused Gonzalo to reevaluate what he wanted to do in life. He decided to get training and certification as a Master Coffee Roaster before he left Canada to come back to Arequipa, not only to help his father, but to start an enterprise of his own.
Gonzalo found some fertile land in Quillabamba, near Cusco, which has an ideal landscape for growing coffee, and while we were talking, he also spoke of his passion for land management and keeping a natural ecosystem while also growing and harvesting coffee.
Quilla started off small, selling coffee only at local fairs, but his customer base was growing. Gonzalo eventually came across an ideal space for rent right on the Plaza Yanahuara, and he eventually bought the building, which is now Quilla Café. Since the café opened, they have expanded their menu and remodeled their space to accommodate their growing business. The staff at Quilla are kind and attentive. Gonzalo also mentioned that all of the workers also study or are in school because he believes in providing an environment where personal and professional development are priorities.
When we asked Gonzalo about future plans for Quill Café, he was excited to tell us about their new brand and coffee line, Max Quilla. He has also rented a space in Umacollo to open another café, and he is going to be opening a café in Lima within the year. Long-term, Gonzalo is looking forward to opening a Quilla Café in either Montreal or New York.
Quilla Café has an amazing location right on the Plaza Yanahuara. The neighborhood of Yanahuara is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, and the two-conjoined plazas are quite a sight. It has gorgeous palms, shady benches, kids playing, and the Mirador Yanahuara that overlooks the city.
The café has a total coffee vibe, decorated with rich brown hues and pops of color. There’s plenty of seating with wooden chairs and tables, benches, and even a bar area to watch the baristas fix your coffee. It’s definitely a cozy space, but there is often loud music playing.
Because Quilla grows and roasts its own beans, you can buy ground coffee or beans per quarter-kilo or half-kilo (S/11 – S/21), which is an amazing treat while you’re staying in the city or a great gift to take home to family and friends.
Quilla Café has a wide range submarine sandwiches (15 cm or 30 cm) along with a variety of empanadas. It’s also worth mentioning that they have multiple daily promotions. For example, you can get Café Americano with your choice of muffin for S/7.00 or a 15 cm submarine sandwich, cookie, and a Café Americano for S/11.90.
The Triple Submarine Sandwich (S/9.20 – S/14.90) is a cool take on the classic triple. The hardboiled eggs, tomatoes, and zesty lime avocado blend perfectly for this Peruvian favorite, and it’s a great option for vegetarians. You can even have spicy rocoto sauce added if you want a kick!
The Pollo Hawaiano Submarine Sandwich (S/9.90 – S/15.90) is a satisfying combination of sweet and savory. Small, juicy chunks of chicken glazed with a sweet pineapple sauce dressed with lettuce and cheese make this an ideal choice to calm a rumbling stomach.
There are always fresh desserts beautifully displayed at Quilla. I think we have sampled just about everything they have, and it is always tasty. Some of our favorites are the Muffin Manzana (S/4.50), Torta de Chocolate (S/5.00), and the Cake Balls (S/2.50).
Quilla Café has an impressive array of drink choices from artisanal beers to homemade juices. They are, of course, known for they’re amazing, locally roasted coffee.
Their Latte (S/6.00 – S/7.50) was superb. Being residents of Yanahuara ourselves, we are no strangers to Quilla’s coffee. It truly is some of the best coffee in the city.
Their freshly-made juice can be made with or without milk and with or without added sugar. The Jugo de Mango (S/7.00 – S/9.00) is definitely a refreshing treat.
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