Mexico City is North America’s largest city, a sprawling place with incredible energy, great street food, bold flavors, and vivid architecture. To fuel the relentless thirst for all CDMX has to offer, residents have developed an affinity for specialty coffee. Inspired roasters and cafes are working together to deliver satisfying, creative coffee drinks often made with Mexican beans. Learn about seven places to score satisfying cups in Mexico City based on my trip from May 18 – 22, 2018.
Numbers on the map correspond to listings below and appear in alphabetical order instead of order of preference.
1. Café Avellaneda
On a Coyoacán side street just a few blocks away from Museo Frida Kahlo – her former home with Diego Rivera – Café Avellaneda delivers a surprisingly ambitious coffee program. Juan Carlos de la Torre opened his tiny, six-seat, rust-colored coffee bar under a blue awning in 2010. He showcases Artesanales on a blackboard grid, which recommended Santa María Yucuhitii, a washed coffee from Oaxaca, was Sugerencia del Tostador, in four different espresso drinks. The charming hole-in-the-wall houses a two-group La Marzocco espresso machine for standard drinks and crafts coffee cocktails. I was impressed with Juanito, an equal mix of espresso and sweet tart tamarind, lemon, and sugar that de la Torre created on the spot for a magazine story. The drink also incorporated euebro (juniper) and slightly bitter, carbonated tonic water over ice in an Old Fashioned glass with a lemon twist. Other interesting Bebidas de la Casa included Camelia in a ceramic mug with maple, espresso, black tea, and milk; and Frida in a stemmed glass with cascara de cacao, chipotle seco, and agua tonica, served with goleta de maiz. Café Avellaneda also sells squirrel shaped shortbread cookies, to match the logo.
MUST ORDER: Juanito
2. Café Curado
Café Curado has been open since late 2016 in Roma Norte, the realization of a longtime dream from Baja born architect Ulises Omar. The dark wood bar brews coffee on a black two-group Victoria Arduino espresso machine, Melitta Cerámica, Kalita Wave, and V60 Cobra. Café Curado champions beans from Veracruz, though they also incorporate international roasters like Arabica and Coffee Collective for cold brew.A barista named Carlos made me a well-crafted Gibraltar that inspired confidence in the rest of their coffee program.
MUST ORDER: Gibraltar
3. Café Negro
Café Negro has been located around the corner from jam-packed Jardín Centenario in Coyoacán since 2013. The cafe houses white brick walls, wood tables and counters, and tile floors with decorative star patterns. They rely on a two-group La Marzocco espresso machine to brew 100% Mexican beans from states like Guerrero, Veracruz and Chiapas. They emphasize black coffee since “simple is always best,” though I’d also recommend cappuccino that could have been more artistic, but still delivered great flavor. Café Negro also hosts a bakery that produces coffee-friendly pastries and snacks.
MUST ORDER: Cappuccino
Jeremy Clouser and wife/baker Cecilia Morales now run three branches of Chiquitito Café in her home city of CDMX. They started in Condesa and recently expanded to Lomas de Chapultepec. Their tiny Cuauhtémoc branch – the company’s middle child – features a grey awning, two tables up front, and a La Marzocco espresso machine. The couple sources beans from a small producer in Boca del Monte, Veracruz. I enjoyed a cortado from Clouser with notable artistry.
MUST ORDER: Cortado
5. Dosis Café
Dosis Café in Roma Norte features white brick walls, hanging wood beams that display plants, and curvy black metal lights that look like they’d feel at home with the aliens from “War of the Worlds.” Baristas staff a marble bar, pull shots on a three-group La Marzocco espresso machine and dispense cold brew. Carajillo Clásico teams two ounces of espresso and Licor 43, a Spanish liqueur made with citrus, herbs, and spices that’s available shaken or on the rocks. Dosis Café also bakes their own sourdough for toasts and sells treats like 3-chile brownies, babka, and sweet potato rolls with cardamom.
MUST ORDER: Carajillo Clásico
6. Qūentin Café
Qūentin Café has been open since 2016 in Roma Norte. Menachem Gancz and business partner Salo Askenazi roast their own coffee in back, and not just Mexican beans. One of the owners is apparently a huge Quentin Tarantino fan. Thus the name. The space touts a tan and black color palette and contains marble tables, white brick and wood. A message of inclusion reads, “Filter Coffee Not People.” A marble bar hosts a one-group Slayer espresso machine and and one-group La Marzocco G3 plus white Hario V60 cones. A barista named Beatriz said they change origins, roast profiles and process every 25 days or so. I enjoyed bright, well balanced espresso from Costa Rica. Cascara Funky features moderately caffeinated cold brewed cascara tea made with spent coffee cherries, ginger, spices, and mineral water, served over ice.
MUST ORDER: Cascara Funky, Espresso
7. Rompeolas Café
Rompeolas Café is far from crashing waves, but the name of of this coffee bar in Cuauhtémoc’s fashionable Milán 44 complex translates from Spanish as “breakwaters.” The stall with a playful fox logo dates to 2015 and features Veracruz coffee and a vivid yellow two-group La Marzocco espresso machine. I doubt that cold brew jugo de naranja will become the next Arnold Palmer, but still found tag team of earthy cold brew and bracing orange juice to be invigorating.
MUST ORDER: Cold Brew Jugo de Naranja