Central and South America

Cafe Passmar, Mexico City, Mexico

17 September 2010

A walk, a subway ride, another walk, a moment’s confusion, surprise and finally nothing short of wonderment… all in a day’s work searching for Cafe Passmar.

Cafe Passmar, Mexico City

It’s in the most unexpected of spots and is one of my favourite coffee shops from the world trip.

Head for Mercado Lazaro, a food and nick-nacks market in a suburb of Mexico City. It’s hard enough to find the market, but then you have to wander the isles, dodging chicken carcasses and piñatas, before finally casting your eyes on this pristine, green-coloured coffee shop.

Cafe Passmar, Mexico City Cafe Passmar, Mexico City

The coffee is superb. My latte was easily the best coffee of our stint in the Americas (3-and-a-half months or so).

It was beautifully presented with pristine latte art. That came as no surprise as the barista, Aleli Moreno Labastida, won the first ever Mexico Latte Art Championship (2009).

And that in itself was no surprise as Aleli was, at the time, the Mexico Barista Champion (2008). In that contest she trounced all the other competitors, but was nevertheless so surprised by the result that, when it was announced, she fainted!

Cafe Passmar, Mexico City Cafe Passmar, Mexico City

And even that success wasn’t too much of a surprise when you consider that she was trained by her partner (both in business and “in love”, so to speak), Salvador (also known as Chava). Chava was the Mexico Barista Champion two years running, 2006 and 2007.

So there’s quite the exceptional coffee pedigree at Cafe Passmar.

Cafe Passmar, Mexico City

Best of all though, it’s a smashingly friendly place. The staff are brilliant. They were so pleased to see that we’d made the effort to find them, and that we took an interest in coffee, that they brought out a couple of home-made puddings, for free. Delicious they were too! (The puddings I mean, and the staff too I suppose.)

We ended up staying for about 3 1/2 hours, doodling not-at-all stereotypical Mexicans.

Cafe Passmar, Mexico City Cafe Passmar, Mexico City

Aleli and Chava were both there and it was a pleasure to meet them. They’re fantastic hosts. A travelling barista was also there, attracted by Passmar’s renown, just as I was.

It’s comfortable and popular. Pot plants and photos of coffee adorn the tables and walls.

Cafe Passmar, Mexico City Cafe Passmar, Mexico City

Its inauspicious location adds an extra dimension of charm. You know when you walk into a coffee shop in Soho, Wellington or Sydney that it’s likely to be great.  But that’s not the idea at a market stall in Mexico City… is it?

So I hope that Aleli and Chava aren’t tempted to move to swankier premises, because our visit to Passmar was one of the most memorable experiences of our trip, and not just in coffee-shop terms.

Very highly recommended.

Cafe Passmar, Mexico City

It might be tricky to find. We headed to Etiopia metro stop, then west along Eje 4 Sur for about 1 km (the first road you cross after the metro should be Anaxagoras). At Adolfo Prieto, turn left, and the market is on your left before the next road. Passmar is roughly in the centre of the market, number 237. Click here for a handy map.

Adolfo Prieto 237
Col. del Valle
Mexico City

Website: http://www.cafepassmar.com/

We visited on 17 September 2010.

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  • SALVADOR BENÍTEZ 8 January 2011 at 7:28 am

    gracias, por todo el reportaje y que agradable sorpresa, mil gracias.

  • G 13 January 2011 at 5:39 am

    Wait… pot plants or *potted* plants?

  • Cosy Coffee Shops 13 January 2011 at 9:37 am

    Oops… the latter. Looks like I’m guilty of false advertising.