Destinations / Best Place for a Cup of Coffee

Best Place for a Cup of Coffee

Best Place for a Cup of Coffee

15 September 2008 Destinations 41

When we first moved to Merida, we moved from a country that was experiencing the height of Starbuck's frenzy. There seemed to be a Starbucks on every corner, everyone had their favorite drink and everyone loved to go to Starbucks. In addition, we came from a cooler land, where a steaming hot cup of coffee in the morning was a wonderful thing.

When we got to Merida, we realized that this was one of life's little comforts that we may have to leave behind. Not only was there no Starbucks for thousands of miles around us (think about that...), but we didn't even really WANT that cup of coffee so much anymore. A hot, steaming cup of coffee isn't quite the same on a hot, steaming morning in the tropics. And that was a good thing, because wherever we went, when we asked for coffee, they brought a spoon, a cup full of hot water and a jar of Nescafe to the table. Not exactly what we were used to!

Over the years, we have adapted more to our chosen home and once in awhile, we actually do still enjoy a hot cup of coffee. Well, let's be honest... our preference is a hot, foamy capuccino (a habit we picked up in Italy on our 'weddingmoon"). Or sometimes a mocha caliente (hot mocha) or a chai latte. What has also changed is that our choices about where to buy a cup of coffee (or a mocha or a latte, etc.) have expanded considerably.

And here finally is a place for our rant about capuccinos in the Yucatan. Somewhere along the line, someone got the idea that Americans (or all tourists, maybe) like their capuccinos served in a tall glass, with a lot of hot milk (and not much foam). Where we come from (and in the rest of the world, as far as we can tell), capuccinos are served en tasa (in a cup), thereby resulting in less milk (and more foam and more coffee). Even the best restaurants in Merida will serve a capuccino in a tall glass, sometimes even if you request otherwise (and you can be sure we have requested this on occasions too numerous to count). We continue our gallant quest to bring true capuccinos to Merida's restaurants, and welcome any fellow luchadores por cambio who would like to join us. End of rant.


About ten months ago, we were alternately teased and applauded for printing the news that Starbucks had come to Merida and how happy we were about it. As 2008 draws to a close, we feel that there are so many choices about where to get a cup of coffee (and a capuccino), we'd better take a poll!

As usual with our Readers Choice Polls, here are our suggestions to start. If you have a suggestion that is not on the list, please send us a comment with your nomination. We will take new nominations up until the end of September, but voting will be open on this and all other polls until the end of 2008.

Thanks for read, and then vote!

Italian Coffee Company

Italian Coffee Company strikes us as the Mexican version of Starbucks. It is a nationwide franchise. It serves coffee and tea of various kinds, as well as paninis, croissant sandwiches and a variety of desserts and other beverages.

Address: c. 62 x 61 next to Teatro Merida, downtown. (There are others in the malls and around town)
Wireless internet: Yes
Hours: Sunday-Friday: 7:30 AM to 11 PM, Saturdays: 7:30 AM to 12 PM
American coffee: $17 pesos
Cappuchino: $27 pesos

Café La Cabaña

This cute little hole-in-the-wall seems to get what we like about a place that serves coffee. They are open all the time (so you can just drop in when you feel like it). The few tables outside on the zocalo make for great people watching. And in addition to coffee drinks, they serve breakfast, paninis and croissants. Mostly, though, the coffee is good.

Location: Calle 61 x 62 in the across from the Plaza and almost next to the Governor’s Palace.
Wireless internet: Yes (free from the city)
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 7:30am- 11:30 PM approximately. They close when the last client leaves.
American coffee: $18 pesos
Cappuchino: $30 pesos

El Gran Café

Probably one of the first places we ate when we moved here (it was right down the street from our new home), El Gran Café reminds us vaguely of an old black-and-white film about traveling in Latin America. They have a lot of bags of coffee displayed on their shelves, and they are somehow affiliated with Cuba (the owner is Cuban perhaps?). El Gran Café serves a lot of food (international, Mexican and Yucatecan), and it definitely makes a strong cup of coffee, as well as other coffee drinks. Their various buffets are pretty good, and the big picture window looking out onto Paseo Montejo is another good people-watching spot.
Location: 47 con Remate de paseo de Montejo.
Wireless internet: Yes
Hours: 7 am to 2 am every day
American: $16 pesos
Capuccino: $23 pesos
They are also a restaurant serving a variety of international, national and local food.

Olive Café Stop

This is the New Kid on the Block. Olive Café Stop was started in 2008 by a woman, originally from Peru, who worked for many years for some of the best hotels on the Mayan Riviera. She brings a welcome cafe to an area on Paseo Montejo that needs that sort of thing (just north of Triunfo) and we're hoping she is successful there. What would be more fun than to go shopping for mirror balls and oversized salad bowls, and then go have a latte with your fellow shopping buddies? The Olive Café Stop also sells baguettes, sandwiches and desserts. And they have a blog!

Location: Paseo de Montejo x 31 y 39
Wireless internet: Yes
Hours: Monday –Saturday, 8:30 am to 8 PM
American: $15 pesos
Capuccino: $22 pesos


What can we say really? Stepping into a Starbucks here made us wonder if the Star Trek teleporter had finally been invented. It's like taking a mini-trip to the USA, without having to go through a metal detector. The smells, the colors, the ambiance, the comfy chairs, the magazines.... oh, okay. So the magazines are in Spanish. No LA Times or LA Weekly. A rude awakening from a coffee-scented daydream. Anyway, sometimes Starbucks is like a letter from an ex-lover... bittersweet.

For the records, as far as we know, there is a Starbucks at this location, at the Gran Plaza, and at the Alta Brisa Mall. They might be closing down Starbucks in the States, but they are expanding here!
Our favorite location: Circuito colonias in Colonia Mexico, between Nasstroms and Chapur (just east of the Burger King Circle)
Wireless internet: Yes
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 7:00 AM to 11 PM, Friday: 7:00 AM to 12 PM, Saturday: 8:00 AM to 12 PM, Sunday: 8:00 AM to 11 PM
American: $18 pesos
Capuccino: $29 pesos


Segafreddo is so much more than a cup of coffee, we almost hesitated to include them. But then, they do make a great coffee and when you ask for a capuccino, you get it in a cup. That puts them on our white list! Of course, it's trying to be Italian (it is also a chain), so it needs to know these things. Segafreddo also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our favorite is lunch, actually. Their croissant sandwiches are delicious and they also serve bagels! Segafreddo can also be found in the Gran Plaza, the Alta Brisa Plaza and probably a few other places.
Location: Prolongacion Montejo, inside Plaza Mayor, next to Checkers restaurant.
Wireless internet: Yes
Hours: 8:00 am to 2:00 AM every day
American: $21 pesos
Capuccino: $27 pesos

Reader’s Nominations:

Flor de Santiago
Possibly the oldest café in Merida. They serve coffee and meals, under lazily turning ceiling fans that just make you want to relax and enjoy.
Location: Calle 70 x 57 y 59, Santiago
Hours: 6:00 am to 1:00 am every day
Wireless Internet: Yes
American: $15 pesos
Capuccino: $24 pesos

Café Latte
Located north of downtown in the Itzimna neighborhood.
Location: C. 18 Av. Perez Ponce num. 96, Itzimna, near the corner with 21 and the church
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM, Saturday: 8:00 AM to 3PM, Sunday closed
Wireless Internet: Yes
American: $8 pesos
Capuccino: $17 pesos

Cafe Genevieve
Named after the owner's mother, this cozy coffee shop is located in the front room of a home. Light streams in the windows, couches, chairs & tables beckon, reading material is readily available and good conversation is too.
Location: C. 51 #493 between 56 and 58 (the yellow house)
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Sunday closed
Wireless Internet:Not yet.
American: $15 pesos (includes refill)
French Drip: $25 pesos (includes refill)


  • Working Gringos 12 years ago

    Thanks, Mik!

  • Mik 12 years ago

    Coffee Reviews according to Mik

    Segafreddo: superb coffee, weak service, cigarette smell. I like the mezzo mezzo as well and they have some good sandwiches.

    Coffee and Bagels: across the street from Colegio Cumbres, not on Villas Haciendas, around the corner. GREAT coffee drinks and the bagels - try the Mex Bagel. Arrachera is not something that is normally well done in Yucatan.

    Mi Viejo Molino: Have the americano de maquina. It is great. The baguettes make a nice breakfast to share unless you are really hungry.

    Cafe Lucia: in the Liverpool Galerias Mall. The lechero is better than La Paroquia in Veracruz. Best donuts in town!

    Starbucks: I think it is much better in Mérida than in the States. Have an americano expresso with an extra shot.

    Cafe Lucia (62 y 55 downtown): Good coffee, great food.

    Over-rated: Cafe La Habana and Italian Coffee Company

  • lorraine toohey 12 years ago

    I am not addicted to coffee so perhaps I just don't get it but it seems to me that avoiding Starbucks and choosing to support local business would be admirable.
    In my opinion the best place for coffee is San Sebastian park early in the morning.

  • Brenda Thornton 12 years ago

    Thanks for the heads up. I spent years in the medical field and never drank coffee, when the environment ran on the stuff. I drank tea.

    Then, while undergoing medical treatment which caused hives, really huge, all over the body hives, as in my lips swelled up and looked like Goldie Hawns in The First Wives Club movie, and had to take TWO DIFFERENT anti-histamines at a time, I discovered that coffee kept me somewhat alert and from drooling, more than tea.

    In the ensuing months, I have grown really, really attached to coffee, black, and got away from Coke.

  • wola 12 years ago

    Excellent site. Good work.

  • Working Gringos 12 years ago

    Hi Mike,
    Mercer Lounge is behind Mercer Cigars. It's on Prolongacion de Montejo, between Cielo (the nightclub) and La Parilla (the restaurant).

    For more info, go here:

  • Mike 12 years ago

    Where is Mercer Lounge?

  • Dave 13 years ago

    Olive's Cafe is my 2nd home. I love walking in the shade and smelling the flowers on Paseo Montejo, then doing my internet work at Olive's. I contrast this with noisy Cafe la Habana which shuts off wifi when they get busy.

  • josh 13 years ago

    for me the best coffee in Merida has to be for sure Segafredo. I lived in Italy for 5 years and moved to Mexico with my wife (Italian). By the way, this doesnt make me bias about my choice hehe. I have visited all 5 of their outlets (Americas, Plaza Mayor, Altabrisa, Gran Plaza and the one where the skating rink is) and its by far the only place in town to have a reasonably good espresso or cappucino. I dont usually tend to like coffee chains, hence I dont like neither starbucks or italian coffee company, but segafredo makes for me a difference since it has a true italian flare. Also, their frapuccino is awesome. My son would stop talking to me if at least I dont take him once a week !!!

  • allison 13 years ago

    Caffe Latte is absolutely incredible and it smells so good when you walk in. It's so good! But also, El Hoyo which is a little cafe on C. 62 y C. 59, has a great environment and a really cute little courtyard inside. Usually populated with young college students, it is sometimes a perfect lace to go and chill. One thing you need to be sure not to miss is their waffles! Yes they exist in Merida! And what's more, you can special order waffles (2)--one topped with Nutella the other with Zarzamorra (raspberry/blackberry jam) and it comes with vanilla ice cream on top! I it absolutely incredible and very reasonably priced (although I'm not sure exactly how much it is). I'm telling you, this is the place to go for a cafe environment and some great waffles.

  • Beryl Gorbman 13 years ago

    I'm the co-owner of Cafe Genevieve and we very much appreciate people's kind comments. However, I must alert you all to the Cafe Chocolate on 49x60 next to Los Aluxes. Unfortunately, they do not open until 5 p.m., but they make fabulous, smooth espresso drinks.

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