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Café Guide: Northern New Mexico

Discovering the Land of Enchantment one cup at a time.

by Peter Lacerenza | April 13, 2021

Over the past year, we’ve all tried our hand at turning lemons into lemonade. Sometimes those lemons are more literal, sometimes those lemons are a group of high school friends riding out the pandemic at their parents’ homes and the lemonade is a two-month “workation” in Northern New Mexico.

Although I had never been to the Land of Enchantment prior to my trip, it didn’t come without some expectations: blue skies, beautiful landscapes, and adobe architecture — all of which were enjoyed in abundance. Over the two months, there was so much more that I came to appreciate: the kindness and culture of New Mexican people, all things piñon, “Christmas” chili, and the delightful coffee scene. Join me in a look back at a few of my favorite café finds.

World Cup Café

World Cup Café 102 Paseo del Pueblo Norte; Taos, New Mexico 87571

Self-described as “A small espresso bar with a big heart in the center of planet Taos,” World Cup Café quickly became my go-to upon arrival. Though I usually went for an iced americano, there were times when wintry weather implored me to explore the larger menu. That said, if you are looking for a warm treat, the mocha offerings (Borgia, Mexicana, and Picante among them) are not to be missed. Make sure to check out Manzanita Market next door for a delicious lunch to pair with your coffee.

KOKO 1033 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Suite H; Taos, New Mexico 87571

A ways down the Paseo is KOKO. A one-stop shop for solid coffee and great food, this café truly shines in the dessert department. Make sure to check out the tiramisu and apple pie, but get there early to get your hands on one!

Sky Coffee

Sky Coffee 1609a Alcaldesa Street; Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

Serving up our friends, Onyx Coffee Lab, in the city’s Railyard District, Sky is an experience not to be missed. It is not just in the Railyard District, but it’s also quite literally on the rails, with an observation patio to boot. Great for an early afternoon hang, and for watching the trains go by, this might be one of the most unique shops you ever visit.

35° North Coffee 60 East San Francisco Street; Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

Tucked in the back of The Arcade just off the Plaza in Downtown Santa Fe, 35° North might be a bit difficult to find at first, but you’ll know when you’ve arrived. The coffee is brewed to perfection, and their delicious roasts for purchase mean that you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home, too. Insider tip: Make sure to bring your SPF! The patio at 35° is the perfect place to enjoy some New Mexican sunshine, and you might be hard-pressed to leave like I was.

Opuntia Café

Opuntia Café 1607 Alcaldesa Street Suite 201; Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

Just down the street from Sky is the light and airy Opuntia Cafe. Named for the Opuntia (AKA prickly pear) cactus, this stellar shop also sells plants, teas, and locally made ceramics. The coffees and pastries I tried here were, without a doubt, some of the best I had in New Mexico. Though I didn’t try anything from their restaurant menu, it certainly seemed to draw a crowd, too. Did I mention it also has a koi pond?

Honorable Mentions

Because there were so many places to choose from, this café guide is not without its honorable mentions: Henry & The Fish, Modern General, Iconik Coffee, Ohori's Coffee, and Holy Spirit Espresso are must-see and sip cafés in the New Mexican capitol.