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)


  • Beryl Gorbman 12 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.

  • Chente 12 years ago

    My favorite place is Cafe Genevieve. I enjoy the French Press coffee as well as the suroundings and people that I met there. They have great snacks as well.

  • barbara 12 years ago

    I love the coffee at Cafe Genevieve.. but mostly I like the bagles, lox, cream cheese, capers, onions.. and it's right in Centro..

  • Deborah 12 years ago

    The best coffee I have had in Merida is at the new Cafe Genevieve. They are located on Calle 51, #493, between Calle 56 and 58 in Centro. They are open Mon-Sat from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. They also use a french press. Tel: 923-0336.

  • drew p 12 years ago

    I'm sorry but in my opinion, you left off the best places in the city. Some of the places you name above serve some of the worst cups of coffee in Merida.

    Though tiny, Café Latte, on Perez Ponce in Itzimna roasts their own coffee in back. Rosario May and co. have the best coffee in the city. Naturally, we buy from them and serve their fine espresso roast here at Mercer Lounge. We prepare our coffee with a vintage french press and we make some of the finest cappucinos in the city. And we're open from 12- 12.

  • viejo gregorio 12 years ago

    Around 20 years ago when I was spending quite a bit of time in Merida, to get a coffee, I had to ask for cafe cubano, or cafe americano. ne placethat got it right back then was Cafe Pop. I understand that it is still in operation.

  • Atlante! Atlante! 12 years ago

    Hi! i think you are translating the word press literally when the actual word used is 'prensa' . think Starbucksuses the phrase cafe de la prensa francesa....mmmmmm! so good!

  • Atlante!Atlante! 12 years ago

    coffee!!!! I'm so addicted it's not even funny!
    In Italy no drinking of capuccino after 11am or the Italians will have a heart attack!LOL
    Before you vote, please do the following: Go to the Starbucks pictured here and ask for cafe francesa de prensa (editors note: we think she means de la pressa... in other words, French Press). Tell them to use espresso roast beans.... Best cup of joe IMHO. They are so nice there and they truly enjoyed showing their coffee-making prowess. I walked out without paying after buying coffee for all mis amigos mexicanos y dos tazos de la ciudad. Total was about $550 pesos. They were astonished when we returned 8 hours later after we realized nobody paid. Good peeps up in there.

  • Jan 12 years ago

    Do you know the address of Cafe Latte? ?

  • alberto 12 years ago

    I hesitate to reveal this, but Cafe Latte's (near Itzmina) coffee is the BEST!!!

  • ricardo 12 years ago

    Having had coffee at about 75% of the places named let me add my two cents worth.
    First of all, the coffee at the Gran Cafe always tastes stale. Second, the coffee at Cafe La Habana is consistently the best. Starbucks is overpriced for the value and The Italian Coffee Company is also high-end but a little better than Starbucks.

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