For reasons I’ll discuss tomorrow, I was denied the chance to spend my seven-hour layover in central San Salvador and instead was stuck inside the airport. That left me plenty of time to seek out good coffee in El Salvador International Airport (SAL).
Best Coffee In El Salvador International Airport (SAL)
I remember the first time I flew into SAL airport. It was in 2010 and I used a long layover to head into town. I wasn’t even a coffee drinker then, but I remember that smoking was permitted almost everywhere and the bars and coffees shops featured patrons smoking, which I viewed as an increasingly rare sight, even more than a decade ago.
11 years later, smoking is prohibited, but the coffee shops remains. First, I sat down at La Rosa del Viento (rose of the wind), which had a respectable machine the latte art on their menu caught my attention. I also noticed roasting appeared to be done on-site.
La Rosa del Viento
Located near the center of the terminal, just left past passport control, The coffee shop was located in a larger restaurant and bar. I sat down and a waiter immediately turned up to take my order (I was the only patron is a very large dining room). I ordered a cappuccino and he seemed very disappointed I wanted no comida (food).
The coffee arrived shortly thereafter and nicely presented with heart-shaped latte art. Although a bit too hot, it was a very good espresso and I’m glad I ordered the eight ounce versus the twelve ounce size (even though it was only 50 cents more). Too much coffee makes me jittery and I had to pace myself.
Pricing was definitely at USA-level; a cappuccino set me back $4.25. Had I headed into town the price would have been half that.
Coffee beans were also available for purchase, but I’m still working on my stash from Guatemala.
Next up was a trip to a Colombian coffee chain, a few doors down.
Juan Valdez Café
Why go to a chain coffee shop that wants to be the next Starbucks? If I’m being honest, it’s because the café had a La Marzocco coffee machine. Simple as that.
But while Juan Valdez Café may seek to play on the level of Costa Coffee and Starbucks, I’m pleased to report the coffee tastes much better. I asked for a flat white–not on the menu–and the one barista stared at me blankly. But her colleague knew what a flat white was and offer to make me one.
It turned out well…the latte art was not beautiful, but the coffee was strong and tasty…in fact, the coffee here was even better. To0 bad “real” cups were not available (they were present, but COVID-19 was blamed for not using them).
Coffee was also available for purchase.
Just about every restaurant and bar in this airport offers speciality coffee. There are other places I would have tried had it been earlier in the day, like The Coffee Cup, which claims to offer “the best coffee of El Salvador” (who doesn’t?).
The lounges only offered percolated coffee, so this was a far better option.
Likes its neighbors, El Salvador boats a thriving coffee industry and coffee culture is part of life. You will find plenty of coffee options when traveling through SAL and at least from my experience, both coffees I enjoyed were tasty and worth the investment.
> Read More: My Adventure in San Salvador