Coffee in Mexico

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Coffee in Mexico

Postby Belgik » Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:20 am

I'm just back from a week in Mexico, and I tried -when I had the chance- various coffee bars over there. For starters, no one over there knows about "ristretto" or "macchiato" - these are Italian terms - and the coffee is not like the abovenamed.
All coffee is Mexican-grown; it appears to me that the coffee is on the bitter side, but not unpleasantly so. The most usual form is "Americano", followed by perhaps "cortado". This is (slightly) comparable to a large, weak macchiato; it's what I usually ordered. There's also "cappuchino" and various forms of "frappé" or "café helado", which I didn't try because of my diabetes (sirups, sirups, you know...).

In a local flight magazine, there was an article on "best coffee bars" in Mexico City. The usual Segafreddo and Illy chrome and glass glitzy schlamm (or at least, that's what I made of it). One place, however, drew my attention: "Passmar" is the name. It is located a typical Mexican covered market... el Mercado Lázaro Cárdenas del Valle. I only had a tourist map, without street register, and it took plenty of asking around to, first, find the general area/metro stop, followed by a 11-block Volkswagen beetle taxi ride in pouring tropical rain. I found it. I always do. A queue of rather well dressed office people lined up for the labeled as usual (in Mexico) coffees, prepared by a comely lass, definitely not the Mexican barista champion that was supposed to be in charge of this very small "bar". I had a cortado, it was good. Since I saw people eating there, and a seat came available, I had a cheap and tasty lunch and, coming to coffee-time after that, I wrote the words "doppio macchiato" on a napkin and had it handed over to the barista, who had meantime showed up. He looked at me, smiled, and served me a strong espresso topped with cream. Very good, even though quite different from the Roman macchiato. I finished off with an equally satisfying ristretto. These two last coffees were definitely made by a "classical" barista, in the Italian style. By the way, the market is colorful and an interesting visit, full of piñatas hanging from the ceiling, stalls selling fruit, vegetables, smashed meats as well as cheap clothes, wrestling masks, super-sweet donuts with pink sugar coverings, and herbal medicines...
Another place in Mexico city, in the Zócalo area (very downtown) is "La Habana" (where "the" Che used to come when he lived and worked in Mexico city), where the cortado is very good and breakfast great.
Whilst not a top coffee place, Mexico is -at best- not so bad in the way of coffee, but there's definitely plenty of room for improvement. It must be noted that I did not try Starbucks, for lack of time :lol:
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RE: Coffee in Mexico

Postby CakeBoy » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:02 pm

A great insight and it sounds as though you had lots of fun. Interesting stuff about the coffee names. It must have been good to try quite a few Mexican grown beans. Thanks for sharing Belgik :)
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RE: Coffee in Mexico

Postby Bertie_Doe » Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:34 pm

18 months or so ago, I tried some of Steve's ('elephant ears') Mexican maragogype. My notes showed 'acidic, earthy, slight nutty aftertaste' and a score of OK. Roast 2C. I remember thinking that I wished I had bought more than 250g. Perhaps a darker roast to Rolling 2nd, may have reduced the acidity. I may try it again one day.

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