The 5 Best Cafes in Guadalajara (so far)

el rincon del mate guadalajara miguel blanco

These are my five favorite cafes in Guadalajara so far. I say “so far” because I’ve only lived here for two months. Still, when you go to cafes everyday, two months is a decent amount of time. The criteria I’ve used are atmosphere, price, quality, and staff, though not necessarily in that order (though definitely in that order). 

5. El Monosílabo

mono silabo guadalajara

Atmosphere: 4
Price: 4
Quality: 3
Staff: 4

Located in the exact neighborhood where I want to live, near El Rincon del Mate (see lower on list) and the famed Expiatorio, Guadalajara’s most magnificent neo-gothic cathedral. Like many old houses in GDL, this one contains a wonderful inner courtyard patio where the sounds of the street drift in and are filtered by the murmur of happy clients and cheap, fairly delicious frappes.

What to order: chilaquiles with a coffee frappe. 

4. Palreal: La Pura Crema

palreal cafe guadalajara mercado mexico

Atmosphere: 3
Price: 2
Quality: 5
Staff: N/A

Full disclosure: I’ve only been here once, and that one time was yesterday, but even getting an iced americano was enough to know their product is second to none (and third to none, for that matter). The good thing about Palreal is it’s got beautiful wooden, richly-finished picnic tables which are perfectly positioned for the breeze. The bad thing is it’s in Mercado Mexico, which is essentially a mall.

What to order: An iced americano. 

3. La Teteria

la teteria guadalajara

Atmosphere: 4
Price: 3
Quality: 4
Staff: 5

I dedicated a previous post to this place’s matcha frappes. They’re sweet, they’re cold, and drinking one is a little bit what I imagine injecting heroin might be like. Which makes me wonder if I might somehow be able to inject a matcha frappe. Does anyone know how to do an IV?

The staff here are wonderful, especially Gustavo, an Argentinian expat I often have extended conversations with, about Argentina, about Guadalajara, about mate, and about working online. Come for a matcha frappe, stay for an afternoon.

What to order: Duh.

2. El Terrible Juan

el terrible juan guadalajara

Atmosphere: 5
Price: 4
Quality: 5
Staff: 3

It’s a sad realization when a place is cooler than you. You walk in, you sit down, and you think, Damn, everyone here is so cool. Then you look down at your undershirt which is stained from the hydrogen peroxide you used to treat your ear last week at the beach. You look at your laptop bag, which is actually an old grocery bag. And you think, Wait a minute, can I actually be here? Am I going to be out-cooled to the point where I have to just leave? But you stay anyway, and talk to the cute waitress, and order a Chemex and write a blog post.

And that’s basically my experience every time I go to El Terrible Juan cafe.

What to order: Any of the specialty preparations with any of the beans. Also, try the lonche de cochinita

1. El Rincón del Mate

el rincon del mate guadalajara

Atmosphere: 5
Price: 4
Quality: 4
Staff: 5

Prepare to check your worries and preoccupations at the door, and spend a magical hour (or two, or three), sipping on South American tea and listening to the gurgle of a fountain. El Rincon del Mate is located just up the street from El Monosilabo, also in the Expiatorio neighborhood. I come here almost everyday. If they rented rooms, I’d live here. If they rented showers, I’d bathe here. Maybe one day they’ll hire me, and all will be right in the world.

What to order: A mate clasico with a tarta (quiche) de portobello. If you’re in the mood for something sweet or unique try the terere or the mate mocha.

If you know of any other cafes in Guadalajara that are amazing please leave a 500-3000 word comment in the comments section. Any comment of lesser word count will be categorically rejected.

A special thanks to all of these cafes for providing inspiration and thus supporting this “blugh.”

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La Teteria

la teteria guadalajara

When I come to La Tetería, Guadalajara’s premiere tea house and where the song “Here With Me” by Didot is currently playing over the speakers, I usually order a matcha frappe. But sometimes, as the waiter Gustavo just informed me, who is quickly going from being just a waiter at a tea shop to a kindred spirt (he’s Argentinian and there’s been talk of us drinking mate together), they have “stock problems.” Today is one of those days. There are no matcha frappes. There are no green chai frappes. And the girl sitting in front of me, who might be part goddess and who I’ve spent the last five minutes staring at, just ordered the last piece of cheesecake.

The first time I ever had a matcha frappe at La Tetería I was on a Tinder date with a girl named Daniela. Daniela was beautiful and funny and smart, but I barely noticed, so engrossed was I in my matcha frappe. I try to limit my matcha frappe intake, because they’re kind of expensive and very sweet. Even so, if I’m bored, or feeling a bit down, or just feeling any emotion that is vaguely human, I try to make a visit to La Tetería for one of these drinks. It would be hard to have a bad time while drinking a matcha frappe. Maybe if you were bleeding from a head wound, but even then I think you’d forget about it until the frappe was gone.

I never thought I’d be a frappe guy.

Life is full of surprises.

La Tetería is located in Guadalajara’s Americana neighborhood, a five minute walk from the American Consulate and about a seven minute walk from Chapultepec, an area (basically a street) famous for its nightlife, bars, restaurants, high prices, pedestrian walkway, outdoor market, and apparently (according to Marta, the lonche lady) weekend violence. This is the area where I work, and so I walk by La Teteria at least once a day. It’s perched on Calle Libertad, a street with low traffic flanked by all kinds of towering tropical trees that provide bountiful amounts of shade. The front part of La Teteria is a cool terrace where there always seems to be a breeze even on the hottest days. There’s also an inner courtyard where I sometimes like to go at night and sip my matcha frappe and look up at the sky and think about what might’ve been, what is, and what still could be.

Today La Teteria is slow and I’ve ordered a regular chai frappe, which I’ve already finished. When I got here Gustavo and I had a long conversation about my MacBook charger, which broke last night and which I spent all morning trying to replace. We also talked, as we usually do, about his upcoming trip to Argentina.

“I’m so jealous,” I said, “I should be in Argentina or Chile.”

“But you get to be here,” he said.

“Yeah, but…”

I trailed off, because Gustavo had a damn good point. I could be jealous of the people in Buenos Aires, but I get to be here. I could be jealous of the people in Paris, but I get to be here. I could be jealous of the people in Hyderabad, or Seoul, or Tokyo, or Regina, or Montreal, or Port Orchard, or Saskatoon, but I get to be here. Here in the shade, in a comfortable chair, feeling the breeze, sipping a chai frappe. Which isn’t matcha, but almost just as good.

A special thanks to the chai frappe currently in my stomach for supporting this blog.

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Review: Starbucks, Chapultepec, Guadalajara (A Lesson in Din)

The first thing I noticed when I entered the Starbucks on Chapultepec, on the corner of Lopez Cotilla and Chapultepec in Guadalajara, was that it smelled musty. Luckily, I’ve since gotten used to this smell. I noticed it the first four or five times. But now, I come here everyday, so I live in the must. Love the must. The origin of this musty smell is unclear. The cleaning regimen here seems to be second to none. I often see a young man with a mop. The bathroom has a code so not just anyone off the street can walk in, though to be fair they haven’t changed the code since I’ve been here, so if I was ever in the area and needed a loo I could just walk right in. I can only assume, then, that the musty smell has something to do with the ventilation, or lack thereof. It smells a bit like a dirty bus station. But in the best possible way.

Someone criticized me yesterday for coming to Starbucks everyday, saying that in Mexico Starbucks was only for trendy people who wanted to take selfies and also that I should support something local and Mexican, and I defended myself vehemently. Granted, I had no defense against the fact that maybe I should be supporting something local. And when I say “defended myself vehemently” I don’t mean rationally or articulately. Mostly I mean that I raised my voice and became slightly aggressive. “I need a controlled environment when I write!” I said, “And Starbucks gives me that controlled environment. It’s the same everyday. I know what to expect. It’s anonymous.” I kept ranting for a few seconds more and then the argument ended in a stalemate as it was time for breakfast.

Despite the musty smell, this is a good Starbucks. It’s big and comfortable, with plenty of seating, both inside and out, and has the perfect amount of din. Din is the mix of sounds coming from the baristas and people ordering, the sound of people talking, and the music coming from the speakers. This particular Starbucks boasts a perfect din. It’s not a quiet din! In fact, as far as dins go, this is one of the louder dins. But this is classic cafe din. If you were to make a YouTube video of “cafe sounds” (and people have done this), this would be a prime candidate. The only thing I don’t like about the din this morning — and this is rare — is I hear English voices in the din. Two American girls. They’re intruding on my territory, and they must be removed.

As was bound to happen, some of the employees now know exactly what I order: A small Youthberry tea in a ceramic cup and an apple. It costs, after my for-here cup discount, 36 pesos, or $1.92. Some would consider this expenditure extravagant, but I consider it necessary. Again, this cannot be stressed enough: I need a controlled environment for writing, and one that’s not my house. I can’t write at my house. That’s like hanging out in your bed all day. Beds are for sleeping! Nothing else. Houses are for things like relaxing and watching TV and chilling on the couch, but they’re not for writing.

I will not be back here tomorrow, as I’m going to the beach. As far as I know, there’s no Starbucks in Sayulita. I’ll have to find the closest equivalent. And come Monday, I’ll be right back here. Back with my manzana and my Youthberry tea. Back with my din.