Noir Cafe: For The Lover of Dark Coffee

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Cafe Noir

One of the very first coffee shops my boyfriend and I stopped at in Medellin was Noir. For me it was a fancy French word. Anyone familiar with the town of Princeton is probably familiar with fancy French and Italian cafes. But, for many local people the name is somewhat funny. 

In Spanish, if you were to say “no ir” it loosely means “don’t go here”. So the name may have taken some getting used to for some of the locals. We will dive into their name and origins some more in the next section.

But for an American, it’s just what you’d look for in a fancy cafe. It gives off a vibe of a city cafe coupled with a Greecian villa. There were gorgeous crystal chandeliers, comforting lounging couches, bar stools, and a lovely outdoor patio. 

Everything there seemed to bring together the classic world with the industrial world. I know it sounds contradictory, but it really comes together in this cafe. I remember even the waitress had a steampunk-styled uniform that matched the decor. 

If you’re looking for a classy night out, you won’t be disappointed here. And, if you are like me and savor a dark Italian-style espresso, this place is for you. 

What is Cafe Noir? 

Cafe Noir is notably an American Cafe in the heart of Medellin. The owner of the cafe is actually originally from America and serves many dishes and drinks an American would recognize. They even have a “God Bless America” sign lit up on the wall behind one of the main bar stands. 

Cafe Noir

The owners and founders of Cafe Noir, Hugo and his wife Lidia, operate their wine company in Napa Valley, California. Hugo is the descendant of Mexican immigrants to the region who began experimenting with wine-making early on. 

They now have an artisanal wine brand which they serve and sell at their Chateau de Noir in Napa. But, their love of wine and the different flavor notes was one of the driving forces behind their coffee craft. As any coffee lover will tell you, a good cup of coffee is like a good cup of wine. It should have strong and soft notes that you can savor and enjoy. 

Cafe Noir prides itself on quality and fair treatment. They source their coffee from the mountains of Titiribi, Colombia. Their brand is known as “1000 Montanas” which translates as “1000 mountains”. They state on their menu that they source from here only to ensure their suppliers receive fair treatment and pay for their work. 

To me, this struck me as a great example of fair trade. One issue constantly faced with fair trade coffee is tracing the exact origin. By sourcing their coffee directly, they can assure fair wages are paid for each pound. 

And, it does not stop there. They are proud of their staff and strive to pay them all a living wage. I was impressed with their origins and their treatment of their staff, and I appreciated that as a former barista. 

How to Get to Cafe Noir? 

Cafe Noir is located in the Antioquia section of Medellin. This area brings a lively atmosphere to the city of Medellin mixed with a blend of natural splendor. The exact address can be found on Google maps at: Cl. 8 #37a41, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia

If you are staying at either the Soul Lifestyle Hotel (like I was) or the Marquee Hotel, you are within walking distance of this cafe. If you are traveling from Soul you may not enjoy the walk down (and then back up) the hill on Cra. 43. 

This road has a very steep incline, so if you enjoy a slightly intense walk, it is great. But, if not, I would recommend using Hotel transportation or a local taxi service. 

If you’re at the Marquee, your trip will be much easier, since it is only .1 miles away or 190 meters. The route is essentially a straight line from the Marquee down Cl. 9 to Cl. 8. And, you will get to pass through the local park that is right next to the Marquee and enjoy a little nature on your way. 

The Overall Vibe of Cafe Noir

The overall vibe of Cafe Noir was a welcoming place with a soothing atmosphere. The white curtain draped between each seating area creates a semi-private feel. In each of these seating areas there are lounging couches and cushioned chairs. 

Cafe Noir

The color scheme contrasted with each other somewhat but in a positive manner. The seating was typically white or light-colored, while the walls and floor were dark cherry wood with black edges and trim. 

The patio area was very classical in style. It reminded me of something you’d find in an Italian or Greek country home. The whole atmosphere complimented their menu in a way I’ve rarely experienced before. The white tones were soothing, while the dark undertones really struck you.

Just by drinking their macchiato, I felt there was a connection between this stormy drink and the striking contrasts. 

The Menu of Cafe Noir 

I’ve already touched a little on how their menu complimented the entire vibe of the cafe. Now we will deep dive into the menu and see what it has to offer. 

Cafe Noir

The main downside of the menu for many blue-collar people out there is the price. Many of the coffee beverages cost over $6, including a $12 cappuccino. I am from Jersey, but this might be the average price for California. 

If you are looking to splurge a little and want a high-quality experience, the price is not an issue. You won’t regret the price after you try their drinks and sides. The positives of their menu outweigh the price by far, so don’t let this deter you. 

Their menu has more than just coffee. But, since this article is a coffee recommendation article, we will deep dive more into the coffee. To begin, for their wine menu they have quite an excellent selection. 

They craft their wines in Napa California. Their selections include rose, chardonnay, and many more. They also host a wine tasting for anyone looking to have a pleasant experience on the outdoor patio. Just be sure to make a reservation!

I am not a wine aficionado, however, so this article will not highlight their wine. I did not want to start the deep dive without giving their wine some spotlight though. If you are visiting Medellin and enjoying a good glass of Napa Valley wine, visit their cafe!

Noir’s Espresso 

Espresso is the fundamental part of almost every hand-crafted beverage. Without going too deep into the foundational differences in varieties of coffee, espresso is a small shot of concentrated coffee. 

If you are interested in understanding these fundamental differences, I will be crafting other blog posts for Casacol on these topics. So, keep an eye out for them. But, for now, espresso is a concentrated shot of coffee. 

If the espresso is bad, it does not matter how much sugar or milk you add to your drink, the fundamental coffee ingredient will not be good. Noir’s espresso was fresh and dark. One thing you run the risk of with dark espresso is tasting burnt notes in your drink. 

But, don’t worry. Noir’s espresso had the dark taste of a classic French roast espresso. Anyone who is a fan of the crema on top of their shot will be very pleased with this espresso shot. As a lover of Illy cafes back in New Jersey, I really appreciated this familiar almost NYC-tasting espresso shot. 

Noir’s Macchiato 

This may come as no surprise to the coffee lover out there, but the Starbucks and Dunkin macchiatos are not macchiatos. A macchiato does not have milk, sugar, or flavoring in them. All a macchiato has aside from a shot of espresso is a dollop of foam on top. 

Macchiatos and cortados are my all-time favorite espresso drinks. They really let the espresso take center stage without covering it in cream and sugar. So, if I am testing a cafe’s quality, I always order one of these!

They served their espresso in a special little cup, which was a little single shot cup shaped like a skull. It was somewhat surprising but it really blended well with the decor and vibe. It also really accented the strength of the espresso. It is very strong and will not disappoint if you like a shot to really hit you. 

Noir’s Frappe

I am not a huge fan of sweet blended coffee beverages. But, this frappe is not the same as your usual McDonalds or Starbucks frappe. Rather, the coffee still stands out as a potent and strong flavor of the blended beverage. 

Cafe Noir

But, for those who are not a fan of the stormy darkness of an espresso shot, this might be for you. The drink is a blend of milk, ice, sugar, flavor, and an espresso shot. Due to the darkness of the coffee, it still takes center stage. 

The two prominent flavors to add to your frappe are chocolate and vanilla. You can also just get it blended with the espresso, though, if you like it that way. This frappe can be made with regular or almond milk. As someone who got her’s with almond milk, I can attest that this drink is nice and creamy still!

Noir’s Latte

I was so in love with their espresso after the macchiato that I wanted to see how their decadent latte was. I ordered a regular latte, without flavors or anything, and almond milk. 

I must say what they brought me surprised me in the best way! Not only was the taste very smooth yet powerful, they even decorated the top!

Noir takes latte art to an awesome level! Obviously, this wasn’t brushed on with a spoon, but it’s still a level of detail that I thoroughly appreciated! They provide you with sugar and honey on the side of all your drinks, so don’t be shy if you feel the espresso is too dark! 

I personally felt the latte is perfect just straight, but everyone is different! 

The Food of Noir Cafe 

Cafe Noir offers an excellent variety of dishes. Depending on whether you visit for the wine or the coffee, each dish is specific to your goals. They offer a charcuterie board for the wine lover out there. 

If you came for the coffee (like I did!) I recommend the bakery section. Here you will find a variety of croissants, delicious tarts, cheesecake, and even some breakfast items. I visited in the evening, so I did not try their waffles (although, I am sure they are great any time). 

Croissants 

Noir offers four varieties of croissants: butter, almond, Nutella, and cheese/savory. My favorite was the butter croissant. When dipped into your hot latte, it seems to melt a little and feel very decadent 

But, I liked the almond croissant as well. I felt, even though I always loved the Starbucks almond croissant, that this one was way better. I assume it probably was much fresher. But, if you like the almond croissant from Starbucks, you will LOVE this one. 

I recommend trying the Nutella croissant along with the espresso, with nothing added. The bitterness of the espresso contrasts with the sweetness of the croissant. Savory croissants are not my favorite, but my boyfriend said they were very satisfying and flavorful!

Lemon Meringue Tart

I don’t need an excuse to eat lemon meringue! Noir’s meringue tart was way different from the Jell-O box mix meringue pie I grew up with. 

I recommend having this paired with a vanilla frappe. Or, you can try it with the chocolate variety, but I felt it was best with the vanilla variety! 

Less Decadent Fruit and Yogurt

If you are in the mood for something a little less decadent than the previous food pairs, you should try their fruit and yogurt. The yogurt is semi-sweet and the granola makes a satisfying crunch for your dish. 

The fruits are fresh and delicious. I highly recommend trying a V60 coffee paired with this less decadent dish. It makes for a pleasant, light experience. 

Who Should Visit?

Cafe Noir is an excellent spot for couples. I remember feeling it had a romantic feel to the whole place: quiet, ambient, and soothing. 

When you’re seated on their couches in their seating areas, you feel you are in a private place. The curtains are not closed, so you don’t feel isolated. But, they provide a separation between sections that make you feel safe. 

Of course, this place is an excellent stop for families as well. I could imagine bringing my parents and my sister with her daughter to this place. In other words, I could see it being a nice place for grandparents to take their grandkids and spoil them a little. 

Best Time to Visit

Depending on your situation you may wish to visit at different times. You can visit this cafe anytime between 9 am and 12 am. My boyfriend and I visited around 7 pm, which seemed ideal, especially for couples. 

But, if you are visiting this part of the city with children, I’d recommend any time before 8 pm. This cafe remains relatively calm, but this region of the city does have a lot of nightspots and bars.

There is a sports bar across the way, and similar places all around. The music can get a little loud. It is not a dangerous part of the city by any means, but it may just be a little too active for children. 

By and large, though, it is very safe and pleasant at any time. But, this is my personal recommendation! 

Paying and Leaving

Ironically, one of the coolest parts of this cafe is paying. I know, this sounds crazy, who likes paying? But, Noir went above and beyond to make it an interesting experience.

When you pay for your meal and drinks, the waiter will bring back a small box. When you open it, you will discover an ornately designed holder filled with steam from dry ice. It looked like steam coming off of a pond in the evening. I appreciated this extra effort. 

Overall, this cafe is friendly, most of the staff speaks English to some degree, and the whole environment helps you relax. It feels like a little escape from the hustle of the world. I highly recommend this spot for anyone looking for a classy and amusing night out.

3 Comments

    1. Oh thank you so much, Gordon! I’m so happy you liked it! I appreciate you taking the time to comment! If you are planning a trip out you Can check out more of our content 🙂 we are always creating new, helpful resources for visitors! Happy travels 😊

  1. Just a note on the price Emily. Their prices are in COP with the ,000’s dropped to streamline the menu. So that $12 latte is $12,000 COP ($3.15) and a bargain.

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