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Finca Coffee brings taste of El Salvador to Madison

Ashley Valle, the daughter of owners Marleni and Silas Valle, prepares a coffee drink as employee Mackenzie Jones watches over the dining room. Photo by Omar Waheed.

The taste of El Salvador in Madison, Finca Coffee prides itself on its made to order, fresh food and coffee. 

Located on Madison’s south side, Finca Coffee, 2500 Rimrock Road, has been around in Madison since 2019. The coffee shop was opened by Marleni Valle to pursue her dream to be her own boss and bring a slice of her culture to Madison. Finca Coffee is operated by Marleni and her husband Silas.

Finca Coffee are best known for their pupusas, El Salvador’s national dish consisting of a thick griddle cake or flatbread with fillings like meat, cheese or beans, and their Salvadoran quesadilla, which earned La Finca an honor as one Madison Magazine’s Best of Madison in 2021.

The famous quesadilla is not what you might typically imagine when thinking about a quesadilla. Not filled with cheese, the Salvadoran quesadilla is a sweet cake-like pastry that pairs perfectly with your coffee at breakfast.

“We wanted to bring some of El Salvador to Madison, and that’s why we opened Finca Coffee. We bring the coffee to keep it fresh — we bring it every three weeks from El Salvador,” Silas said.

Photo by Omar Waheed.

Finca Coffee imports coffee directly from El Salvador to keep true to the taste it brings to Madison. Ingredients for food are locally sourced from Madison Latine-owned stores to support other Latine businesses in the city.

Waste is something it tries to keep to a minimum. Every day ingredients are purchased for food to prepare the absolute necessity of orders that Finca Coffee expects. Nothing is kept from the day before to ensure that all food stays fresh.

From El Salvador, the couple moved to Madison to provide an opportunity for their daughters to receive a quality education in UW’s school system. Silas had attended UW-Platteville himself to study accounting 15 years ago and then moved back to El Salvador.

The shop is primarily run by Marleni. Her husband Silas typically takes care of the accounting side of running their small business, but he can be seen working there to help out primarily on weekends. Right now, he is taking on running the business as Marleni is in El Salvador visiting family and procuring their coffee instead of their usual method of shipping it in from the country.

The shop has found great standing and local support from Madison’s community. Despite the resounding support, Finca Coffee had to close temporarily in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had to close four months during the pandemic. We survived the pandemic and stuff, and my wife is happy that we are kind of known in town now. We have a good customer base now,” Silas said. “It was tough. Four months we were closed and we had to pay rent.”

The shop bounced back to the point that they recently decided to expand operating hours. Formerly 7:30 am- 4:00 pm Monday-Saturday, Finca Coffee heard requests from customers who wanted to enjoy an evening bite on the weekend. It is now open on Friday and Saturdays until 7:00 pm.