March 5, 2019

A Specialty Coffee Shop Tour of Guadalajara, Mexico

The state capital of Jalisco, Guadalajara is Mexico’s second-biggest city and is known for mariachi music and tequila. A hub of arts and culture, it also has a strong educational community and business presence. Guadalajara is a charming mixture of old and new with more than its fair share of public plazas and cultural festivals.

Among the colonial architecture in the historical center are a growing number of specialty coffee shops. Let’s take a look at where to go for a great coffee in Guadalajara.

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inside a coffee shop in guadalajara

The interior of Matraz Providencia. Credit: Ana Valencia

Why These Five?

A city of Guadalajara’s size has many cafés to choose from, but I chose these five because I feel that they offer excellent customer service, strive to improve their quality, and aim to educate their customers. These are the coffee shops where you’ll not only get a great cup of coffee, but it will come with a smile and a chat about how it was prepared.

customers enjoying specialty coffee

Inside Caligari Café. Credit: Caligari Café

1. Caligari Café

The bold mural on the front of the building gives the impression of fun, but the staff members at Caligari Café take the quality of their coffee very seriously.

Here, you’ll find an experimental workshop of flavors, exceptional brews, and daring drinks. Founded in 2006 by Isaac Padilla and Fabián Delgado, this was one of the first specialty coffee shops in the city.

a pile of bikes in front of a coffee shop

Caligari Café from the street. Credit: Caligari Café

WhereJuan Manuel 1406, 44600
AtmosphereFriendly and welcoming
Espresso MachineDalla Corte Evo2
GrinderDalla Corte DC Two
Coffee OfferingsEspresso-based drinks, pour over
Must-Try DrinkRompopino, a custom drink based on the traditional eggnog-like rompope
Retail OfferingsRoasted beans
Food & Other DrinksHouse-made food including desserts, tea, local beer
Nearby SightsLocal market, Chapultepec commercial district
A barista brews an amazing single origen coffee

A barista prepares a drink at Caligari Café. Credit: Caligari Café

2. PalReal

This is a place where you can whip out your tasting notebook and make notes. The owners Fabrizio Sención and Jorge Sotomayor also own roastery Estelar, and the café serves its beans.

There are three locations in the city, including a bar in Mercado Andares, a trendy food market. Here, you’ll find state-of-the-art technology and innovative techniques used to get the best out of the beans. Make sure to try the custom cocktails, many of which are based on cold brew coffee. It’s also a great place to come for lunch or dinner, with a menu that attracts foodies.

PalReal Mercado Andares location

PalReal Mercado Andares location. Credit: PalReal

WhereMercado Andares, Paseo Andares y Blvd
AtmosphereBustling
Espresso MachineDalla Corte XT
GrinderDalla Corte DC One, Two and Max
Coffee OfferingsEspresso-based drinks, pour over
Must-Try DrinkParriba, a nitro cold brew coffee drink
Retail OfferingsRoasted coffee
Food & Other DrinksImpressive full food menu, tea, beer
Nearby SightsLuxury shopping mall, food market
a coffee machine ready to work for making delicious coffee

Behind the bar at PalReal. Credit: PalReal

3. Taller de Espresso

You can smell coffee before you see the café. Behind a tiny bar, the owners of Taller de Espresso roast ten kinds of coffee beans and a couple of blends.

Founded in 2008 by barista Pedro Gómez, two times Mexican champion Arturo García, and Gilberto Pérez, this is a place dedicated to roasting rather than a full-service café. It’s a purist’s coffee bar, where you will only find specialty coffee.

Come here to be surrounded by other passionate customers enjoying an espresso on the terrace while they wait for their bags of whole beans or ground coffee.

two baristas making coffee for customers

Baristas behind the bar at Taller de Espresso. Credit: Taller de Espresso

WhereMiguel Hidalgo y Costilla 1586
AtmosphereCasual
Espresso MachineMarzoco Strada / GB5
GrinderMazzer Major / Malkhonig K30, EK43 y Kenia.
Coffee OfferingsEspresso-based drinks, pour over
Must-Try DrinkEspresso
Retail OfferingsRoasted beans
Food & Other DrinksBaked goods
Nearby SightsHistorical center

4. El Terrible Juan

There are now two locations, but the original is in a space that was originally a small garage. This local favorite was opened by a guy everyone knows as just as Juan. Despite competition from more than 45 other coffee shops in the area, El Terrible Juan is thriving and regarded as a local treasure.

Come here to drink high-end Mexican coffee beans with a documented path from cultivation to roasting. You’ll find attentive staff members describing flavors and explaining interesting brewing methods to customers.

This is a versatile coffee bar where you’ll see office workers, groups of friends, and dedicated coffee lovers come together for the friendly atmosphere and dedication to the drinks.

inside a specialty coffee shop in mexico

Inside El Terrible Juan. Credit: El Terrible Juan

WhereJose Guadalupe Montenegro 1871, Colonia Americana
AtmosphereRelaxed
Espresso MachineRancilio Classe 5
GrinderAnfim Caimano, Malkhonig K30
Coffee OfferingsEspresso-based drinks, pour over, bottled cold brew
Must-Try DrinkJuamilton, the official house drink made with espresso
Retail OfferingsRoasted coffee
Food & Other DrinksFull menu including the infamous Terrible Bacon Cheese Sandwich, a four cheese sandwich with bacon bathed in maple syrup.
Nearby SightsThe cosmopolitan atmosphere of Colonia Americana, Chapultepec commercial district.
a coffee menu next to a cappuccino

A cappuccino at El Terrible Juan. Credit: Ana Valencia

5. Matraz Café

Matraz is one of the best-regarded roasters in the city and they honor their coffee with quality brews. Everything offered here is served with focus and dedication. They also make their own baked goods.

There are two locations and both are great spots to escape from the city. Come here for a welcoming place to work from or to relax and read a book.

a beautiful spot to work and drink coffee

Matraz Café Homero location. Credit: Matraz Café

WhereBuenos Aires 2679, Providencia
AtmosphereFriendly
Espresso MachineRancilio
GrinderRancilio
Coffee OfferingsEspresso, pour over
Must-Try DrinkCappuccino
Retail OfferingsRoasted coffee, local products including honey
Food & Other DrinksAffogato, matcha latte, chai latte, sandwiches, salads, and baked goods
Nearby SightsBosque Colomos, a pastoral forest park in the city, and Pablo Nerudas, a charming road of restaurants and bars.
nice coffee bar with two frindly baristas

Baristas behind the bar at Matraz Providencia. Credit: Matraz Café

Guadalajara is a vibrant and energetic city with no shortage of great cafés. But these five are dedicated to their craft and offer something special. If you’re in Jalisco for work, travel, or are lucky enough to live here, make sure to stop by these coffee shops.

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All views within this opinion piece belong to the guest writer, who is a local of Guadalajara, and do not reflect Perfect Daily Grind’s stance.

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