Remember when your dentist told you to stop drinking so much coffee because you’re staining your teeth? Or maybe it was that Ayurvedic practitioner who told you that caffeine was causing an imbalance?
Either way, now might be a good time to kick the habit. Good coffee in this area is hard to find. I don’t know why. It just is.
I think it’s best to break the coffee down into four groups: Really Good, Pretty Good, If You Must, & Don’t Drink This.
After a few rounds of joe in all of these different establishments it's not difficult to make these lists.
REALLY GOOD COFFEE
La Mora (and only La Mora), San Agustinillo
They have a real espresso machine and pull genuine shots from it. The americano is the real thing. It has a big full flavor. You can order with confidence. They have wifi and I see people with their laptops working remotely. This is also one of the best (if not the best) breakfast spots in town. If you want to linger then time your visit for the late morning otherwise you'll feel all the hungry people hovering around you waiting for a table.
PRETTY GOOD COFFEE
*El Sueño de Frida, San Agustinillo
These guys get an asterisk because their Italian co-owner, and resident espresso puller, broke her arm and has been on injured reserve since I’ve lived here. The beautiful old manual espresso contraption is gathering dust while she recovers. Their americano, at the moment, is a brewed pot of coffee and it’s pretty good and very cheap (10 pesos). They get their beans directly from a coffee farmer every Monday. I have a feeling these guys will be in the “Really Good” category when they’re at full strength. This is the best place to work because they have wifi and the owners are really lovely people who make you feel at home. Go here.
They have an electric machine that spits out espressos and americanos. There is just the slightest bit of a machine taste to it that I don’t love. But it’s a hell of a lot better than most coffee here so I endure. If you order milk on the side they’ll steam it for you without even asking which is a nice feather in their cap. There is wifi here and it’s a great place to get work done. The food is surprisingly good. I don’t know why I’m surprised but I am. Order the breakfast sandwich if you don’t believe me.
Casa Amori, San Agustinillo
The food here is special. Probably the best of both towns. On a recent food recon mission I ordered a coffee assuming that it would also be special. It wasn’t. The espresso and americano are Nespresso machine products. The brew coffee is Greek style meaning that they leave the coffee grounds in the cup so when you take a sip you get a little more texture than you’re used to. And you should probably bring floss.
Café Café, Mazunte
This is a very brave name for a restaurant that serves knock off Nespresso machine coffee. They also consider an americano to be drip coffee. You could do much worse. The food here is good and priced very fairly. I particularly enjoy their chilaquiles verdes. Eat your lunch here and enjoy your Nespresso.
IF YOU MUST
La Baguette, Mazunte
I love this place for their simple pastries and the warm loaves of french bread that I buy every morning. Try the ‘Libritos’ in the morning when they're fresh and eat the spinach and cheese rollito pastry whenever it’s available. So delicious. They have some little stools that you can sit on to enjoy your morning joe. They make large batches of it in old Italian espresso makers on the stove. It’s just not a great flavor.
Estrella Fugaz, Mazunte
The coffee here seems like it should be good. They make it with a big old fashioned espresso machine. It looks perfect. But the americanos always taste watered down. Don't get your hopes up. They make nice breakfast dishes here (dinner was underwhelming). I particularly adore the Huevos Oaxaqueños. The service is very hit or miss. With lots of misses. There is one lovely waitress and a rotating cast of servers who take your order but never place your order. So your beer never appears. Which is devastating.
DON’T DRINK THIS COFFEE:
Sol Y Mar, San Agustinillo
We had read a review on trip advisor about how this place has great coffee. Big mistake. And by big I mean they gave us really big mugs of bad coffee. Their location is so good that we just decided to watch the waves while we choked it down. This is a strange ‘struant. Cars can, and will, park about 4 feet from the tables. I’d avoid this spot. The little Creperie (green interior) across the street is where you want to be. They don’t make great coffee but they do make the best smoothie in town.
The Place Across the Street from the Turtle Museum, Mazunte
They are advertising “Organic Coffee.” They handed me a styrofoam cup filled with a violently awful tasting tincture. I drank about half of it because I so badly wanted it to be good. I was sick for a day.