Café Avellaneda (Coyoacán)

This place is so small I almost missed it. It’s on a side street to a busy market and about the size of a one car garage. Within, however, is a professional espresso setup and happy people. Good start.

A narrow bar with room for eight runs right down the middle of the space. The stools are welded artistically, and must have been comfortable since all were taken. Opposite is a long bench flush with the wall. The walkway is just wide enough and leads to the smallest restroom on the planet. Would make a Winnebago’s baño seem spacious. The sink is literally directly above the toilet. But it was clean, so that’s cool.

As I entered the café I was greeted by two baristas, a man and woman. I responded, and they promptly went back to chatting with customers. The male barista wore a beanie which, in my experience in the US, is a mandatory accessory. Both he and his coworker sported crisp, clean aprons—a nice touch. There’s something about a clean apron that tells me they know what’s up. I trusted them and I hadn’t even ordered yet.

I asked for an americano and immediately regretted it. Really what I wanted was a straight up espresso. I must have gotten a little distracted when I saw galletas and brownies on the counter. They looked delicious. But I was planning to hit two more cafés and didn’t want to overdo it. Yeah, I know, that doesn’t make my order make better sense. Probably just habit, I suppose.

To be fair, I’m not fully attuned to how an americano is made in Mexico. Is it a watered down espresso or is it simply a big cup of joe like we dig in el norte? Fact is, I enjoyed it, but it was more watery then I prefer. The color was a nice barky brown with some floating bean remnants which strangely, made me happy. It was served with a tiny cookie the size of my thumbnail. I can’t lie, I initially thought the cookie was a weird-shaped sugar cube so I tossed it in the coffee. But when it just floated around, I realized my mistake and scooped it out with the little spoon and ate it. It was a nice touch, regardless.

I sat on the bench with my back against the wall and a wooden tray on my lap. Mostly I watched the baristas as they carefully crafted each customer’s drink. But I also found myself anxiously looking up at the chalkboard menu, a practical cliché. The prices were fair, most in ratio with my 30 peso drink (about US$2).

Folks came and went, passersby waved and greeted clients and baristas. The atmosphere was warm and enjoyable. But I’d have to say it was a bit too small for me to fall in love with it (or hang out, for that matter).

Café Avellaneda, all in all, was a cozy place with an obvious eye for quality. I’d go back in a heartbeat. But I probably take my drink to go.

LOCATION: Higuera #40, 0400 Coyoacán (cross street, Ignacio Allende)

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