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“Awesome atmosphere, weak coffee, snarky owner” 4 of 5 stars
Review of El Gato Negro

El Gato Negro
Calle del Tropezon at the intersection of Avenida Central, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
+505 8819 7093
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Cuisines: Coffee Shop, Coffee Shop, Vegetarian, Vegan
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast
Description: El Gato Negro is a Bookstore/Coffeehouse providing locals and travelers a comfortable place to enjoy whole foods, interesting conversation, amazing coffee, the best selection of books in Central America, and an ambiance which will make you forget that you have spent four hours with us.We source organic and whole foods locally and import what we cannot find here. Our friends are our bakers, yogurt makers, lettuce growers, bee keepers, coconut oil pressers...... We offer an experience unique in Central America.
Los Angeles, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Awesome atmosphere, weak coffee, snarky owner”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

This was a really cool bookstore/coffee shop. I could have spent hours in here looking through the book collection and sipping coffee (if my coffee wasn't so weak). That was my only complaint. Even with weak coffee, I'd still recommend that you give this place a shot.

And while amusing, the owner's snarky Q&A section of her menu was a bit off-putting.

Visited July 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGatoNegroSJDS, Owner at El Gato Negro, responded to this review, July 9, 2014
Our coffee farm is in the highest altitude of the country, creating a very smooth, low acid yet highly caffeinated coffee. It is so smooth that originally people thought it was light roast because it did not have a deep roasted flavor. We use 20 percent more ground coffee than traditionally called for with this particular coffeemaker. Today someone asked me to add more hot water because he thought the coffee was too strong. It was our normal roast and normal measurement. Go figure. We cannot please everyone, but we do a great job at pleasing the majority, which is why we have the highest customer return rate of any business in town.

If you have a complaint, the best way to address it is with the manager because the majority of the time the problem can be solved instantly. My guess is that if the coffee was weak, someone may have taken from the carafe before it was fully finished brewing. The staff is pretty good about avoiding this, but there have been times when certain regular customers helped themselves to refills, thus violating the law of wait until it has finished brewing. However, I think it was more likely the coffee was smooth and the disconnect between the expectation and the tastebud experience translated it as weak.

You cannot leave a satisfied customer if you do not tell us there is a problem. Sometimes people want to leave unsatisfied so that they have something to complain about, which is something I address in my menu. The “snarky” comment is likely because you either work for BP, Halliburton, McDonald’s, the people who manufacture pink slime and chicken slurry, Monsanto, nuclear power companies, credit card processing companies and fiat banks, and the military-industrial complex and/or you are a major shareholder in Facebook and/or you have an internet addiction and did not appreciate being told to disconnect and have face to face time in a coffeeshop and/or you really like drinking coffee from a disposable environmental pollutant formed into a to go cup and/or you were told to take your feet off the table and/or you are a big fan of TripAdvisor and do not like that I refer to it as Whine Advisor and that is the reason that we meet via the internet. I am guessing the latter, as the others would not at least call the FAQ “amusing”, too. Truthfully, it is hard not to be judgmental when reading complaints about a coffeehouse/bookstore in Nicaragua. Right now three nuclear reactors have melted down and their coriums have melted into the earth and water tables while radiation has been emitting non-stop into the atmosphere and the sea water. Forty-nine percent of children living in the highly contaminated (and on-going) Fukushima prefecture that the Japanese government calls “safe” have enlarged thyroids. Yes, 49%! Starfish along the Pacific Northwest have melted away; their extinction took just a few weeks. All of them. All of the starfish on the Pacific Northwest Coast are dead, with their mushy remains decaying into the sea. Hundreds of thousand of sea animals are dying en mass. Governments are trying to create nuclear wars. Human rights are dismal in every country. If you want to complain, those are some pretty good things over which to voice your discontent. I am happy to wear the label of snarky if it has made someone reflect on how their actions reflect upon the Earth and humanity.

The atmosphere that you liked so much is my creation, too, and certainly could not have been created by a snarky individual. The menu tells it like it is. The first page starts with a list of people and places we thank for their support and the second page is an assortment of prayers of gratitude. Winnie the Pooh is quoted. Some people are uncomfortable when they see their attitudes or behavior mocked. Regardless of your interpretation, I receive compliments on it several times a day. The menu has more than 500 downloads from my blog. People ask for copies frequently. It is posted in many bookstores in the US, Canada and even two in Ireland. I see people laughing while reading the menu. Some come back in just to finish reading the menu.

I realize that even this response may keep certain people away from my store. If you want to insult me because of my desire to use my opportunity to educate consumers in a (usually) funny way, so be it. It has gained me more customers than lost and provided education and entertainment.

I am glad that at least you found the FAQ amusing and liked the rest of the store save for the coffee and I sincerely hope that you had a good time in San Juan del Sur.
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326 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    143
    100
    48
    20
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“good coffee shop”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

It was real nice to find an English bookstore here. Coffee is good, breakfasts aren'nt bad. Nice atmosphere with an interesting clientele.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eugene, Oregon, United States
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“A little bit nicer on the service....”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

Decent drinks, cool atmosphere, lots of travelers, and a lot of books for your choosing. The servers are less than friendly.

Visited May 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cologne, Germany
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Burnt coffee :(”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2014

We dropped in here and decided to have a cappuccino as we'd not had a decent coffee in a while and were swayed by the decent looking Italian coffee machine. Sadly, the barista who made our coffee didn't know how to operate the machine properly (either that or the machine's temperature was set incorrectly) and our coffees came out burned and bitter. Not impressed, and for 60c, not worth the money.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGatoNegroSJDS, Owner at El Gato Negro, responded to this review, June 11, 2014
I wish you had said something to the barista and allowed us to make you a second cup.

We roast our coffee on premises, using medium to dark roast for the drip coffee and dark roast for the espresso. We do not use an espresso roast that many other places use because it results in a burnt taste. We use coffee beans from our own farm in northern Nicaragua. The farm adjacent to ours won the Cup of Excellence years ago. People from all over the world have ordered our coffee via mail, including a few from Hawaii who have cheap and easy access to Kona.

We are pretty good about making sure an over-roasted bad batch of coffee (it happens now and then when the roaster gets too hot) is tossed into the compost pile.

Had you spoken to our manager or any of the employees, we would have made you a new cup and if you were still not satisfied, certainly never charged you for it.
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Santa Barbara, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“A Magical Find!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2014

Stopped in here for a latte (very good) to find one of the best book collections I have seen anywhere, Whoever is curating the library is a genius! Coffee is excellent, decor is fun and relaxing. Service is very good. If in San Juan Del Sur this place is a must.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGatoNegroSJDS, Owner at El Gato Negro, responded to this review, June 6, 2014
Thank you for your kind words. I work really hard on the book collection. The perfectionist in me wants the most perfect collection in the world, with titles you will not find in any conventional bookstore to boot. I am glad you enjoyed our place. Thank you for coming and thank you for these kind words on TripAdvisor.
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