My previous experience with coffee in Mexico was Mexico City. I lived there during the summers from the time I was 13 till I was 19. Chilangos, in my experience, loved their coffee. My friends and I drank lots of expresso and cappuccino, over hours and hours of talking and laughing and generally enjoying being together. Most every restaurant we went to served delicious coffee drinks. Coffee grows in Mexico, it’s part of the traditional culture of the country, so I looked forward to this luxury when I moved to Mazatlán.
Thus, it was quite a shock to me when I discovered that most restaurants here in town, indeed, do not have an expresso machine! I’d order my beloved cappuccinos in a restaurant here in Mazatlán, and almost never would I get one. They only served that dreaded cafe americano, or worse yet, instant “Nescafé”! I’m not sure if the overall coffee culture has changed throughout Mexico, if it’s just DF that had that culture, or if it’s just Mazatlán that never really adopted a coffee culture. But here, I have to go to a coffee shop to get a good cup of cappuccino. With a few exceptions.
Every Friday we climb the lighthouse. Though my husband hates coffee, he generously and most kindly agrees to sit with me in the Looney Bean Olas Altas afterwards, prior to starting our work day. This last Friday something struck me. The place was really crowded, and it was puro gringo. This time of year all the snow birds are here, and El Centro in particular transforms itself. If I lived down there I’d be used to it, but it was a bit startling to me. So I started thinking. When I go out with my (local) girlfriends for coffee, it’s either late morning/noontime, or it’s in the evening around 8:00 or later. Then the coffee shops are filled with Nationals.
I like to drink coffee in the morning. Give me my caffeine; get my engine started! When Greg sits with me at a coffee shop in the morning, he says it’s like a methadone clinic: people are all anxious for their “fix”!!!! We wake up at 5:30 am Monday through Friday in order to get our son out the door to the school bus. Yes, I have an expresso machine; I can make my own cappuccinos. But I’d love to be able to go out and have a cup of good coffee early in the morning. Thus, my dismay when I moved here to discover that most coffee shops do not open till 10:00, a few at 9:00, many at 11:00 or later. Fortunately for me we have this wonderful gringo-owned, early-opening coffee shop in town!
Other differences: the length of time the patrons stay in the coffee shop; the comfort of the chairs; table side service or self-service; do the patrons eat or not, and how much (a pastry vs. a more substantial menu); sell “goods” (t-shirts, caps, bags of coffee) other than food or drink, or not.