Mexico is a vast and beautiful country, filled with beaches, desert towns, coffee farms, mountains, and thriving modern cities. As a federal republic, it is home to a collection of unique and complex states, each with their own history and traditions. One of these states—and perhaps the most famous—is Oaxaca, located in the far southwest of the country. The Pacific Ocean hugs the West shores of Oaxaca, and the dry Sierra Madres rise in the East. It is here also that coffee production is a prime source of income for a collection of communities.

The capital of Oaxaca is Oaxaca City, a truly magical and exquisite place, the roads paved with cobblestone, endless and filled with colorful buildings, churches, and… coffee seemingly everywhere. Long known as one of Mexico’s culinary capitals, drawing on the preserved influence and culture of the Zapotec and Mixtec peoples who settled here thousands of years ago, today you’ll find a city absolutely bursting with delicious things to eat and drink: mole, cacao, chapulines, tlayudas, quesillo, mezcal, and so, so much more.

As a visitor, one cannot help but wander through the streets, respectfully absorbing all that is delicious around you.  The air is warm, the sun bright, and the coffee is sublime. Here’s a few favorite places to get you started for great coffee in Oaxaca City, but this will only be part of your experience—try everything, learn more about the history, and be sure to enjoy some mezcal once the sun sets.

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Marito & Moglie

Stared in 2019 by Aurora Tostado and Stafano De Bellis, Marito & Moglie is a cafe on Avenida Miguel Hidalgo, home to a coffee service focused on both excellence and simplicity. When you walk in, the brew bar and espresso machine welcome you into a calm and beautiful room, with a hidden patio to sit outside adorned with plants and drapes of fabric.

The menu here offers pour-overs from Oaxaca and other parts of Mexico alongside espresso and Japanese-style cold brew. This cafe is also a bakery, meaning all the baked goods here are fresh, and the food menu is expansive. They are also their own roaster, which happens off-site and features a range of Red Fox Merchants green coffees.

Snag a spot indoors and get lost in a book, indulge in some delicious food, and chat with the owners if they are in town. This is a great spot to cool off before heading back out into the warm Oaxacan air.

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Terno

After leaving graphic design school, local Oaxacan Celestino Alonso decided to open a small coffee shop, located a bit of a stroll from the main city center. It is quiet here, cool with the shade of trees, feeling more neighborhoody and serene compared to the busier, more popularly visited areas of the city. Alonso was just 21 years old when he first opened this shop, and his youthful passion for coffee and Oaxaca come through in the experience.

At Terno, you can see the dedication to highlighting the great coffee and work amongst the farms in Mexico. Here, the menu is simple, and you have a talented barista to chat with. Alonso greets you, pours you water, and offers you a selection of pour-overs and espresso drinks. The space is small, constructed with concrete, and the walls are carefully covered with photos of coffee farms in Mexico. He roasts his own coffee, at a nearby roastery.

Only coffee is served here. I recommend coming in for a pour-over, hand selected by Celestino Alonso himself. He enjoys promoting unique projects throughout Mexico and seeks to spread awareness for tasty coffee in his home state.

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Muss Café

Found within Casa Antonieta, an exquisite boutique hotel in Oaxaca, is Muss Café. The cafe is nestled in one of the oldest buildings in Oaxaca and opened its doors in 2018. Here you can can sit in the intimate cafe, surrounded by smooth wood and an extensive brew bar, or you can head upstairs to the rooftop courtyard to enjoy your coffee and breakfast at Amá Terraza.

The ambience at Muss feels contemporary with the clean walls, smooth espresso, and lush plants. Located quite close to the main Zócalo, Muss is hard to miss, and it’s become something of a must-stop spot for visitors to Oaxaca City. Coffees here are sourced primarily from Finca Las Nieves in San Juan Lachao, Oaxaca, offered as espresso or pour-over. There’s outstanding food here as well, and even a bit of natural wine on offer in the evenings. The rooftop makes an especially beautiful place to be come sun set, with church bells tolling in the distance.

Muss Café is located at Miguel Hidalgo 911, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez. Visit their official website and follow them on Instagram.

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Onnno Loncheria

You might have missed this spot—there’s no signage— but make sure to put Onnno Loncheria on your itinerary. Situated on a quiet street in Oaxaca, Onnno is known for its magical breakfast menu attracting tourists, ex pats, and locals on the weekends. Upon entry you’ll be greeted by a Slayer espresso machine (the only of its kind in the city), offset by white walls with blue accents and surrounded by unique art. The tables are large, friendly, and the smell of delicious food fills the small space. A jungle of plants awaits you in the garden, lush and refreshing.

There is no filter coffee here, but the cold brew makes up for it, and comes served in a bottle with a glass of ice. For me, this is an ideal drink to sip on as you hide from the hot sun of Oaxaca, and Onnno offers the perfect escape.

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Sagrado Filemón

A collective roastery, cafe, bakery, and rooftop heaven, Sagrado Filemón opened in 2022, and represents an important new destination for coffee culture in Oaxaca. Located near Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán, Filemón is the work of David Garcia, who works alongside head roaster Valeria Pantoja to create an experience focused on Oaxacan coffees, sourced from local coffee-producing families.

Painted tiles guide you towards the espresso bar as you enter, and I recommend you ascend the stairs to the wondrous rooftop. The menu is filled with brilliance from freshly baked Oaxacan pastries, sandwiches with homemade bread, and coffee. If the weather is very hot on your visit, you might opt for cold brew, but espresso and pour-over are available as well. The scene on the rooftop is beautiful, and you feel the sense of community being fostered here, a connection between local coffee producers and the increasingly outstanding Oaxaca coffee scene. This is a must-visit cafe.

Michaela Tomchek is a specialty coffee professional. Read more Michaela Tomchek for Sprudge.

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