You’ve just landed in a new country and you’re ready for your first day of working remotely as a digital nomad. You read incredible reviews about a boutique French cafe and you think, “I will set up shop and work from there for the whole afternoon!” When you arrive the only three, small tables are occupied and so you wait. You finally secure the compact, round table in the back, near the extra tiny bathroom. You try to balance your laptop and your vanilla latte while attempting to connect to the internet, in which the barista later informs you, “isn’t working at the moment.” Frustrated and behind on your mountain of “to-dos” you end up at Starbucks around the corner with your caramel macchiato.
As digital nomads, we spend a lot of our time in coffee shops and there are some essential elements that cafes must have in order for us to work. If you’re thinking about making Mexico City your next digital nomad destination, here is a list of coffee shops that offer, what I call, “the 4 essentials”: 1.) strong wifi, 2.) ample seating, 3.) food options, 4.) good/decent coffee. Other factors I consider are: natural lighting, plentiful electrical outlets and non-distracting background music.
Offering five varieties of Mexican hot chocolate as well as coffee beans from the hills of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Veracruz, this 100% Mexican boutique coffee company is the ideal spot for the digital nomad. The most striking detail of their cafes is the floor to wall covering of unfinished, rectangular clay tile called “saltillo.” The warm, yellowish-brown color of the tile makes you feel like you’re working in the center of an archaeological museum. Tierra Garat offers extra high-speed internet, soothing background music, outdoor seating areas and a few sandwich and salad options if you need to nibble on something. Also, feel good knowing that all of their disposable, “cornstarch” cups are 100% compostable and biodegrade within six months. Tierra Garat has several locations in Mexico City including Polanco, Zona Rosa and the newly opened shop in La Condesa, right off of Avenida Amsterdam. [Special note: there is an inconspicuous personal electrical outlet at eat table, a big selling point for us digital nomads!]
Locations: Jalapa 99, Roma Norte; Paseo de la Reforma #231; Av. Presidente Masaryk 86, Polanco; Av Amsterdam 218, Condesa (corner of Iztaccihuatl)
Cafebrería El Péndulo
This bookstore/cafe/restaurant fusion is another ideal location to spend long amounts of time – just working in the lovely atmosphere surrounded by books is enough to inspire any digital nomad! Pendulo’s ample selection of comfy couches as well as personal tables coupled with reliable internet (most of the time) makes this an especially high-productive environment. They offer a decent breakfast, lunch and dinner menu with a variety of Mexican staples (you could stay here and work all day without starving!). Their coffee is nothing to get excited about but definitely check out the juices (El Verde Whitman is a favorite) and the maltadas (milkshakes) are to-die-for. The Polanco location is a definite favorite as it has books towering to to the ceiling, which makes for an impressive sight. However, there are locations in Condesa, Roma and Zona Rosa so just find the one that is closest to you (check hours as some locations open later).
Location: Alejandro Dumas 81, Polanco; Av.Nuevo León 115, Condesa, open everyday from 8am/9am – 11pm
If you are a digital nomad that just “doesn’t do chain cafes” this little spot in the hipster Roma Norte is a fantastic blend of trendiness, sophistication and functionality. Their thick, robust, wooden tables are great place to spread out papers on, or fall into one of their sofas in the back. Dosis takes extreme pride in their full-bodied coffee and their matcha tea is divine. They offer a few salty and sweet food options such as sandwiches and brownies as well as a few alcoholic beverages, like mezcal, to enjoy after a hard-afternoon’s work. The internet is strong and dependable however, make sure you come with a fully charged battery as there are very few electrical outlets.
Location: Avenida Álvaro Obregón 24, Roma Norte, 8am – 10pm
Le Pain Quotidien
This french inspired cafe is the perfect spot for a digital nomad to spend an extensive amount of time as they not only have strong coffee and wifi, but boast an excellent breakfast and lunch menu. El Pain Quotidien is an ideal location if you need to be working first thing in the morning, as lots of smaller coffee shops don’t open until 9:00 am (a real shocker for the American in me to wrap my head around). Although Le Pain Quotidien is technically a chain (you can find them in New York, Washington DC and LA) their open floor plan with lots of natural light, ample seating options and and classical music creates a very pleasant atmosphere. Although it’s not quite France, it has that Parisian feel. [Special note: The location on Alvaro Obregon has a tree growing through the center of it and a glass ceiling!]
Location(s): Monterrey 104 esquina Álvaro Obregón, Colonia Roma and Amsterdam #309, Col. Hipódromo Condesa, 7am – 11pm (opens a little later on the weekends)
Cielito Querido Café
These coffee shops are sprinkled all over the city and would be the closest thing to Mexico’s “Starbucks” albeit with a lot more spunk – their ceramic cups come with cute sayings such as “te voy a quitar el sueño,” which roughly translates to, “I’m going to take away your sleepiness.” With fabulously comfortable arm chairs and high speed internet, Cielito Querido is a place to grab a coffee or an afternoon sweet fix – their frappes and Mexican hot chocolate are delectable, although food options are pretty dismal. It is also another reliable spot for those digital nomads who need to work first thing in the morning. The location on Reforma and Calle Genova is a popular option due to its centralized location and ample seating options.
Location: Paseo de la Reforma 87, 6am – 11pm (opens a little later on the weekends)