Where to Find Authentic Mexican Coffee in Los Angeles - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Where to Find Authentic Mexican Coffee in Los Angeles

In our July/August 2023 issue, Javier Cabral explores the growing popularity of Mexican coffee and the challenges it’s facing in the U.S. Despite it being the world’s ninth-largest coffee-growing country, as Cabral points out, Mexico continues to fight the “assumption that anything from Mexico will be of inferior quality.” However, that’s starting to change with more American coffee roasters importing Mexican beans and introducing the coffee to curious coffee drinkers. Here, the LA-based Cabral shares his favorite coffee spots around town, not just for Mexican coffee, but for authentic Mexican coffee drinks.

Distrito 14

This Boyle Heights restaurant and bar brings in quality coffee directly from Guadalajara’s Café Estelar, Mexico’s first third-wave roaster, not only using it in their daily coffee program but also selling the bags in their shop. But stay and order one of the coffee drinks by Chef Jonathan Perez of Macheen who is consulting on the menu. Distrito 14 offers a cafe de ollo latte, lavender horchata, and Mexican hot chocolate. But Perez is especially proud of his horchata latte, which is made by soaking rice for 24 hours and enhancing its nuttiness with ground walnuts.

La Monarca Bakery and Cafe

“Organic and high-quality coffee shouldn’t be exclusive to coffee nerds and people who can afford the good stuff,” says Cabral. “This philosophy is what makes La Monarca’s choice to use their Oaxacan single-origin coffee for all their coffee drinks all the more admirable.” Enjoy the organic Oaxacan reserve in a cafe de olla, oat milk horchata latte, or dulce de leche latte. But Cabral suggests grabbing one of their guava jam-filled cuernitos to nosh on while sipping the dark roast brew.   

Maru Coffee

Cabral spotlighted this Arts District coffee shop in his piece as having scored the award-winning coffee from Finca Santa Cruz in Chiapas. Of course, it immediately sold out. But General Manager Matty Roberts says that starting this fall they will offer several coffees from Finca Santa Cruz. Maru, which also has a location in Los Feliz and a dedicated espresso bar in Beverly Hills, offers pour overs, cold brew, and espresso drinks. And although Roberts says Mexican coffees will work beautifully in many different brewing methods, “it makes a perfect pour over/drip cup; the balance and sweetness make it an ideal daily drink.”

El Santo at Mirate. | Photo by Caroline Pardilla


Giovanni “Brewjo” Martinez has one of those amazing pandemic pivot stories. After waking up in the hospital from a COVID coma in 2020, the coffee hobbyist decided to throw himself full-time into inventing creative coffee drinks. He schooled himself on both coffee and the traditional drinks of Mexico and started his own pop-up, Brewjo’s Cafe, which features Mexican-inspired drinks. These intriguing beverages are now available at the Los Feliz modern Mexican eatery where he continues to switch up the menu with new flavor combinations. Choose from his lattes like the El Santo (palo santo syrup, cardamom, oat milk, and espresso) or his panela and tamarind take on the espresso tonic. Martinez uses Proyecto Diaz “Mayan Harvest” espresso, from an all-women coffee-growing collective in Chiapas, for espresso drinks and “El Carmen” light roast, from a family-owned farm in Oaxaca, for pour overs and cold brew.

Tierra Mia Coffee

“Tierra Mia coffee influenced an entire generation’s coffee palate by being one of the first to offer affordable Mexican and Central American specialty coffee at their original southeast Los Angeles location—including my own palate,” says Cabral. The coffee shop, whose lattes the late Jonathan Gold once described as featuring “flavors adjusted to the Latino palate,” opened its first location in LA’s South Gate in 2008 and has since grown to 20 stores throughout California. Cabral recommends grabbing “one of their legendary tres leches muffins.” 

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