Before getting into the guide to our favorite coffee shops in Mexico City below, which will take you through our favorite cafes to add to your coffee list, I’d like to take a quick detour to Colombia for some important context.
After spending six weeks in Colombia a few years ago, a country that has arguably produced the vast majority of my favorite coffees over the past several years, I came back a little disappointed on the coffee front.
On the one hand, I got to visit multiple different coffee farms, including an experience where we roasted and brewed fresh coffee, which is something I had never done before.
The disappointment came from the fact that almost all of the specialty coffee in Colombia gets exported, leaving very little for Colombians to enjoy (outside of a few excellent cafes in the bigger cities in Colombia).
The economic reasons behind that fact make total sense, but it still doesn’t feel great.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a completely different story in Mexico, specifically Mexico City (which might be different than smaller cities and towns throughout Mexico).
I saw more spectacular Mexican coffees in Mexico City than I have seen anywhere else in the world COMBINED.
One of the most unique (and also my favorite) aspects of Mexico City’s coffee scene, at least in comparison to other cities, is that most of the coffee I came across in Mexico City CAME from Mexico.
In fact, I only saw coffee not grown in Mexico once or twice in Mexico City. Which is a fun twist that allowed me to get a deeper understanding of Mexican coffee, the different growing regions, and the different processes used in Mexico.
The other thing that stands out about Mexico City’s coffee scene is the fact that almost every single coffee shop we visited was offering a variety of pour over options, which is something we (sadly) see less and less of in cities around the world, including at home in Portland.
While I totally understand the economics and reasons behind that trend, it was refreshing to be able to try fun coffees prepared in a way that highlights the bright, fruity flavors that I love.
In this guide, I (Matt, the resident coffee nerd and home brewing enthusiast) am going to take you through my take on where to find the best coffee in Mexico City.
We’ll start with nine coffee shops that I visited and loved, move on to more coffee shops that are on my list but I didn’t make it to, and end with a handy interactive map of all of the places mentioned in this guide.
By the end, I think you’ll have at least a couple of places to add to your list.
Sound good? Let’s get into it.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, we would never recommend something to you that we don’t stand behind 100%.
The Best Coffee in Mexico City: Where to Find Excellent (Mexican) Coffee
Now, in this guide, we’re going to focus exclusively on specialty coffee in Mexico City.
While some of the places we’ll talk about also have a strong pastry game or brunch menu, we’re here to talk about the coffee (especially because Matt has Celiac Disease and can’t eat gluten, which means pastries are out).
Before we get into the meat of the guide, here are three things that stood out to me about the specialty coffee scene in Mexico City:
- Tons of filter coffee/handbrew/pour over options at nearly every shop, which seems to be a relic of ancient times back home in the U.S. for reasons that I absolutely understand. But that doesn’t mean I don’t also miss it!
- Mexican coffee is evolving, with tons of fancy beans and experimental processes being worked on. Lots of exciting stuff going on in the Mexican coffee scene, and the fact that almost every coffee you’ll come across comes from Mexico means that you’ll get to try a bunch of them.
- Lots of culturally-relevant specialty lattes and drinks. Most places have some version of an espresso tonic (or something similar), but I also enjoyed seeing things like horchata and Oaxacan chocolate on various menus. That collision of coffee and culture, be it Mexican, Filipino, or Taiwanese, is a trend that I’m seeing around the world, and it seems to be the next “wave” in coffee.
In terms of the process for putting together this guide, I do tons of research on coffee shops before my trips involving big Excel spreadsheets and priority rankings so that I make sure to hit the places I’m most excited about.
However, it’s also worth noting that most of my best finds come from asking baristas in my favorite shops for their recommendations, which almost always helps me uncover a new place or two to add to my list.
I’d highly recommend you do that yourself if you’re interested in finding the cool new spots serving up the best coffee in Mexico City.
A quick note on my coffee preferences, because it definitely matters: I’m all about the lightly roasted, fruity, floral, and bright coffees. Both as filter, and also as espresso. I’m an avid home brewer, making several cups of coffee a day either as pour over or as espresso. Some might call my tastes “fancy” or “snobby” (that’s Alysha’s word). But over the last few years, I’ve figured out what I like, and that’s what I’m always looking for when I’m out trying new coffee shops.
Cardinal Casa de Café
Of the numerous cups of filter coffee I drank in Mexico City, there were two that were a cut above the rest, at least for me. And one of them came from a barista recommendation at Cardinal. But more on that in a second.
They have two locations in Mexico City now – a more rustic, cozy spot on a corner in Roma Norte just a block off of Av. Obregón, and a more modern, hip-feeling cafe in La Condesa.
Part of the reason I was so interested in them is the fact that Mexico’s 2022 barista champion, Shak Zapata, works there (I think he’s also part-owner).
Little did I know that the server who I asked for a recommendation for pour over coffee was also said Mexican barista champion, who competed in the World Barista Championships this past summer in Athens.
I didn’t figure that out until later that evening, when I was jotting down notes in my journal and wondered if he had been there that day.
I appreciated his willingness to chat in broken Spanish about the coffee after we had enjoyed it, and my main comment was that I actually preferred it when it was hot versus when it had cooled off a bit, which is the opposite of how it usually goes.
After asking for a recommendation, we ended up with a beautiful natural process gesha from Veracruz, which was really special. It was fruity – orange, tropical fruits to be specific – and floral, especially when it was hot.
That coffee was a lovely expression of what Mexican coffee can be, and it shattered all of my expectations around what to expect from Mexican coffee that is pretty clearly outdated.
As a side note, the ceramics were just as beautiful as the coffee itself.
The other thing to know here is that my favorite specialty drink – meaning something that isn’t straight coffee – was also here. It was the Voltaire – which is essentially a cappuccino with Mexican chocolate in it.
It was chocolatey without being overly sweet, which is a balance that is pretty hard to achieve (in my experience both drinking mochas and making them at home) and they nailed it.
Camino a Comala: Café de Especialidad
Like I said above, most of my favorite recommendations for coffee shops around the world tend to be recommendations from baristas.
In this case, I made my way to Camino a Comala on a recommendation from Christian, a Q-grader (like a coffee sommelier) who led the “coffee tasting” class we did (it’s this one, and I’ve done it twice now and it’s excellent).
Given his knowledge of Mexican coffee (and particularly coffee in Mexico City), it made its way onto my list as a must-visit.
Especially after I looked at the menu online and saw a coffee that I have read about before, but never had a chance to try: the black honey gesha from famed Finca Chelín down in Oaxaca.
They have a few locations in the city, but the most convenient for me was their location at the northwest corner of La Condesa, just a few blocks away from Bosque de Chapultepec (which was my next stop).
The cafe is on a busy street, and they have roll up doors that open up the entire front of the cafe out onto the sidewalk.
Remember when I said that the cup we had at Cardinal was one of two standout cups in Mexico City? This was the other one. And I’m so disappointed in myself that I didn’t buy a bag to bring home.
Y’all, the florals in this cup were insane. I generally have a hard time identifying floral notes, because they all kind of feel the same to me. But, as someone who has jasmine blossoms in their yard, the aromas of jasmine wafting off the cup as soon as it was set down in front of me were unmistakable.
It was like getting slapped in the face with a jasmine vine.
Aside from the florals, the cup was balanced and tea-like, with a silky smooth light body and a definite sweetness that became more accentuated as the cup cooled.
Plus a backbone of a pleasant – but not overwhelming – acidity. Think pineapple or mango, or something in that neck of the woods.
Another incredible expression of the breadth of great coffee coming from Mexico right now!
That cup of coffee is the kind that I’m always chasing; something special that you can only find in a specific place and time, and that you’ll never be able to get again (unless you return to the same place).
A similar experience almost a decade ago got me into coffee in the first place (a blueberry bomb of a natural Ethiopian coffee that made me go “wait, that’s coffee?”), and I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.
Camino a Comala certainly delivered that feeling in spades, which is why it deserves a spot near the top of this list.
Owned by the same people as Camelia, Café Avellaneda was my favorite coffee shop over my first two trips to Mexico City (it has been around for roughly 13 years now, at the time of writing). It is on a cobblestone street down in Coyoacán (near the Frida Kahlo Museum), which makes it an excellent stop on a trip down south either before or after the museum.
Like Camelia, they also use beautiful coffees from Café con Jiribilla (unsurprisingly since they’re all owned by the same people), and the interior of the shop is absolutely tiny, with enough room for maybe ten people if you’re stuffed in elbow-to-elbow.
The result is a very cozy ambiance. And it means that you get to be face-to-face with your barista as they prepare your drinks, so you get to ask questions!
There are a couple of things that stand out about Avellaneda, at least to me.
First is the fact that they have a variety of different coffees and brew methods available for manual filter (pour over) at any given time. Baristas are also more than happy to give you recommendations (especially in Spanish).
On the recommendation of the barista, we tried a natural process coffee from Oaxaca, and the barista excitedly walked me through the recipe and method they used as they made it with a V60.
Second is the seasonal drink menu, which features my favorite espresso tonic that I’ve ever had among other creative coffee cocktails (we tried the cascara soda and the horchata espresso, and both were also good).
I like Avelleneda so much that, in our 4 day Mexico City itinerary, I list it as one of the four main attractions down in Coyoacán, a list that includes Casa Azul, Mercado de Coyoacán, and the twin plazas at the heart of the neighborhood.
Chances are, at some point during your trip to Mexico City, you’re going to head down to Coyoacán, and Avelleneda should be one of the key stops you make.
Camelia Café was a very pleasant discovery that quickly became one of our favorite spots in the city.
Located down in Roma Sur, we showed up on a sunny Thursday morning and were immediately greeted with a big smile and a “bienvenidos” from the person who turned out to be one of the owners.
When they came over to take our order, I explained (in broken Spanish – I needed a few days to get back into speaking it) that I had heard of Café con Jiribilla, a coffee roaster in Mexico City, through Instagram and Camelia was the first place listed on their website where you can find it.
Turns out, along with Café Avellaneda, they’re all owned and operated by the same group of people!
Yarismeth, the friendly owner with the big smile and warm greeting, walked us through the coffee options, and we ended up with a lovely natural process Oaxacan coffee on espresso, and a honey process coffee (she taught me how to say “enmielado”) prepared with a V60, both from Café con Jiribilla (which is the only coffee they use and sell).
The other owner, Carlos, who has participated (and won) all sorts of different coffee competitions in Mexico, came over and gave us a quick overview of Mexico’s primary coffee growing regions and what makes them each special.
He expressed his love for Oaxaca, which is full of small producers and microlots that you’ll often see throughout Café con Jiribilla’s lineup.
This was our first coffee of the trip, and both the espresso, which was a fruit bomb, and the pour over coffee, which was light and delicate and full of stone fruit, shattered our expectations of Mexican coffee and set us up to dive deeper into the different regions and producers over the rest of our trip.
On my second visit, I showed up on a warm Sunday afternoon and, again, was greeted with the same smile and welcome.
Noticing that Yarismeth, one of the owners, was wearing a La Perlita shirt (a coffee shop in Portland, where I live), I asked about it and came to find out that the owners of La Perlita and her partner are friends. Small world!
Of the coffee shops on this list, I probably have the most mixed feelings about Blend Station.
On the one hand, the coffee we had at Blend Station was pretty good. And that’s probably the best place to start here. By the end of our trip, we basically had a 50% hit rate on their filter coffee options.
We had a great orange fruit (think mango) honey processed coffee from Chiapas as a V60 that was pretty excellent, with a pleasant balance between sweetness and bright acidity.
We also had a second coffee from Guerrero that was notably less interesting, and the main notes that I got from it were roasty toasty, which is not aligned with my preferences.
We also bought two fancy bags of coffee from Blend Station to enjoy when we got home on a recommendation from the barista.
Again, one of them was excellent – tropical fruits with very balanced sweetness and acidity (especially as it cooled). But the other one, despite fun notes of maple and tropical fruits, tasted more strongly of roasted wood than anything else.
Now, that doesn’t seem like the best recommendation, and you’re probably wondering why, exactly, they ended up on this list.
It’s because their specialty drinks, like cold brew and coffee “cocktails,” and ambiance are on point.
Their cold brew was, by far, the best cold brew we found in Mexico City. My older brother, Josh, was particularly enamored with the way they brew it, which involves one of those setups with curly glass tubes that slowly drip water through the coffee and into a decanter waiting to be poured into your glass.
More like a science experiment than anything else.
Later in the trip, we stopped by their location in Roma Norte to sit in the sun and recharge before continuing our explorations. I was in the mood for something a little different and more interesting, and ended up ordering an excellent espresso tonic.
The ambiance, particularly at their location in La Condesa, is among the best on this list.
From the entrance, it seems like a narrow space with a long espresso bar and very little seating. But once you get to the end of the bar, it opens up into a beautiful light-filled atrium centered around a tree growing more than a story tall.
It would be a great place to spend a quiet hour sipping coffee and catching up on your book before heading back out into the hustle and bustle of Mexico City.
Chiquitito Cafe was started more than a decade ago in 2012, and is one of the original purveyors of specialty coffee in Mexico City.
I remember going to their cafe in La Condesa on my first trip to Mexico City and enjoying their coffee, so it immediately went on the list for this latest trip as a must-visit spot.
Today, the Chiquitito empire has expanded to include four different cafes around the city, but I had to return to the location in Hipódromo (mostly because it’s the most convenient for tourists).
Other locations include a location in Cuauhtémoc a few blocks away from the Angel of Independence, and two cafes in more residential areas to the west of the city center.
The interior of the shop is tiny, with white walls and a couple of tables across from the coffee bar, where three baristas somehow maneuvered around each other despite their elbows touching at nearly all times (I was impressed by the spatial awareness).
As it was our first and only coffee stop of the morning before heading off to a cooking class, we ordered a bunch of different drinks. A shot of espresso, a cappuccino, and, after a brief conversation with the barista, their house drink – the Chiquitito.
The espresso was lovely – balanced and juicy – the cappuccino was on point with silky smooth steamed milk, but the highlight was undoubtedly the Chiquitito, which is essentially something like a cappuccino and a latte with condensed milk added for a touch of sweetness.
The location in La Condesa is tiny, but they’ve expanded the seating area with a nice parklet, where multiple groups and dogs were relaxing on a sunny morning, enjoying their morning caffeine dose.
El Ilusionista Café
On this last trip, we stayed in Roma Sur, and my coffee journey in Mexico City took me on a long walk to Secc. Miguel Hidalgo for one of the most recommended shops from the baristas I had asked in Mexico City.
Tucked away on a sunny corner on a semi-residential street southwest of La Condesa, Ilusionista is one of the few coffee shops on this list that rotates through different roasters (versus being tied to a single roaster or roasting their own beans, which covers the majority of coffee shops in Mexico City).
I’m a sucker for a “coffee curator” (my expression for places that rotate through roasters), and I was excited to see a clipboard on the counter with every piece of information you could possibly want about the coffee on filter and espresso that particular day.
On this pleasant Tuesday morning, they were serving coffee from Arrullo, a small Mexican roaster. I eagerly read the information about the filter coffee on deck, and appreciated that they also included information like their brewing parameters for both filter and espresso, something that nerdy home brewers (like me) will appreciate.
I had a honey processed coffee from Chiapas prepared with a V60. For some reason (if you know why, I’d love to hear it!), coffee in Mexico features A LOT more honey process than I’ve ever seen anywhere else.
Honey process is sort of a midpoint between washed and natural coffees, and the best articulation of that idea was probably the coffee I had here, which was round and sweet like a natural, but also had a pleasant acidity that created a perfectly balanced cup.
It was fruity and juicy, which is basically all I want from a cup of coffee these days.
The light green walls and light wood accents of the interior are warm and inviting, and there is plenty of sidewalk seating outside for those warm sunny afternoons in Mexico City.
Anvil Café de Especialidad
I can’t remember exactly how I discovered this cozy little street level cafe – and I do mean cozy, because there’s barely enough room for the bar, let alone the three seats at the bar – but it was some combination of scouring Google Maps and asking baristas around the city for a recommendation on where to go next.
When I went to scope it out in person during a morning meander through La Condesa, I walked up and noticed that they had a horchata espresso on the menu.
Which made me pull out my phone and immediately text my older brother to meet me there ASAP, because we both love horchata.
An hour later, we were sitting at a table on the sidewalk outside enjoying a filter coffee (a honey processed coffee from Veracruz that the barista recommended) and, of course, that horchata espresso. Which was in the top three of our favorite specialty drinks of the trip (and honestly probably the top spot). It was rich, sweet, and delicious.
The pour over coffee, which was prepared with a V60 as I sat at one of those three seats and asked about the recipe. It was juicy and full of orange and red fruits, particularly as it cooled, when the sweetness came out.
To be completely honest, I came to Anvil AFTER Camino a Comala, where I had an incredible cup of coffee. So my evaluation of the coffee here is probably a little affected by the fact that I was still smarting from that cup of jasmine juice that blew my mind.
However, between the specialty drinks, the friendly service, and the variety of pour over options, I can 100% recommend it.
Other Coffee Shops Worth Visiting (That I Didn’t Make it to)
Because Mexico City is massive, there are way too many coffee shops to visit in a single trip.
Or, in this case, even in three trips.
The coffee scene in Mexico City (and all of Mexico, really) is also evolving rapidly, as specialty coffee adoption skyrockets and producers across the country continue pushing the boundaries of quality.
Which means that, since I’ve written this guide, there are probably several additional coffee shops that should be on this list, but I haven’t made it to just yet (I’ll get there on my next annual trip!).
So I’m going to use this section as a place to house other recommendations I’ve gotten (or found myself) for coffee shops in Mexico City that I haven’t personally made it to yet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!
Plus, that will make it easy for me next time I’m in Mexico City, because I’ll have my “must-do” list in one place!
Anyway, here are a few other coffee shops to add to your list.
Alquimia: A shop down in Narvarte, a neighborhood southeast of Roma, that I didn’t quite make it to on my last morning in Mexico City. However, this was one of the places I was most excited about that I didn’t make it to, which is why it leads this section. Lots of filter options, and a fun menu of coffee-based cocktails. If you do make it here, head around the corner for tacos al pastor at El Visito, and carnitas at El Fenix.
Yonke: Another outpost from the people behind Café con Jiribilla and Avelleneda, this one is pretty far north, and so I ran out of time before making it here. It’s a cozy little space, and they host a bunch of different pop ups (check Instagram for the latest). Multiple filter coffee options too!
Totte para Todos: A recommendation from someone who lives in Mexico City and works at the US Embassy, this is a one person show (which is my favorite kind of show) just east of Bosque de Chapultepec. They roast their own coffee, and serve it in this tiny, charming cafe.
CUMBÉ: I actually went here on my latest trip, and the coffee was pretty good but I had a hard time understanding what their “thing” is. First, their bags are all in English (at least that I saw). Second, they say they’re inspired by Australia, which from what I understand after a few Google searches, means that the owner of CUMBÉ spent some time in Melbourne, one of the best coffee cities on earth (and a city that played an important role in my transformation into a coffee nerd), which inspired them to open a shop here in Mexico City. Friendly baristas, good selection of different coffees available, but hard to put my finger on what makes them stand out from the crowd.
The Best Coffee in Mexico City, Mapped
As promised, here is a map of all the coffee shops mentioned in this guide.
Pro tip: click the icon in the very top right to expand it to full screen.