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El Café de la Mancha

By Jade arroyo

El Café de la Mancha has been too often overlooked, especially by distracted tourists, but its popularity is slowly growing, like a plant reaching toward the sunshine. With a clear reference to the literary masterpiece by Cervantes (the epitome of dreamers), the name of the café also refers to the stain left by coffee. Paloma and Christian are the owners/baristas/chefs/hosts of this café and claim that the café was born from the passion they both have for coffee and for offering a “handmade” beverage made with care. This is a place where people can forget about the street chaos and relax with a book, have a conversation with friends or type busily on a laptop. The café is about offering not only good coffee and tasty food but also providing a full experience outside the normal bustle and impersonality, where love can be transformed into food and nourishment and where clients end up becoming friends and talking about their lives between cups of coffee (which leave a stain), bites of pizza and lots of laughter. El Café de la Mancha is located at Recreo 21A and is open 9am–8pm Monday through Friday, Saturdays from 10am to 7pm, and closed Sundays. Paloma and Christian serve all sorts of coffee, hot chocolate, teas, infusions and fruit smoothies, along with gourmet paninis and homemade pizza. They shared a recipe for natural chai tea. Chai is a good alternative to coffee; besides its spicy aroma and delicious flavor, it has many health and anti-aging benefits.

Chai tea

(2 cups)

4 cloves

½ stick of cinammon

5 cardamom seeds

small piece of vanilla bean

2 teaspoons of organic black tea

1 piece of star anise

2 black peppercorns



In a mortar grind all the spices and the tea leaves to make the chai. Put this blend in a teapot, preferably one with a filter. Heat water to just before it boils (otherwise the tea blend will be burned), to the point when it is filled with small air bubbles. Pour the water into the teapot and let the chai steep for three to five minutes, depending on the desired strength. You can drink it plain or add milk and sugar (soy milk is suggested by Café de de la Mancha).



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