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Mexican Coffee, Culture Reigns at Café Azteca in East Side San Antonio 

click to enlarge LEA THOMPSON
  • Lea Thompson
At Café Azteca, Mexican coffee is more than a trend: it's a culture worth celebrating and sharing. Owner Tyler Ybarra, a San Antonio native, launched his craft coffee business in 2015 while attending Texas State University in San Marcos.

Ybarra, inspired by boyhood summer trips with family to Mexico, grew Café Azteca from a series of pop-up events in San Marcos (and several coffee trailers) to a brick-and-mortar shop that celebrated its grand opening in East Side San Antonio on August 9.

Using family recipes, Ybarra has taken years to perfect Café Azteca's Mexican coffee specialities like homemade Mexican vanilla lattes, Café de Olla and champurrado.
  • Facebook / Cafe Azteca
"This is Mexican coffee with a twist," Ybarra said. "These are the drinks that my grandmother would make when I visited, what you would typically find in a Mexican coffeeshop or home. It’s so much more than a simple pour-over."

The nearly 1,200 square-foot shop is filled with table and coffee bar seating, vegan-friendly donuts and conchas from Cake Thieves, and a colorful wall mural inspired by Ybarra's cultural and coffee journey.
  • Instagram / Cafe Azteca
Café Azteca still champions Texas roasters like What’s Brewing and Driftwood Coffee in Corpus Christi, and the shop sees a mix of new and loyal customers, who often make a weekly trip from San Marcos to visit Ybarra and enjoy his craft coffee.

"A lot of people have lost connection with their Mexican heritage and culture over generations in the United States," he said. "For me, coffee is a way to share my passion for my family and culture. Even simple things, like Café de Olla will be a new experience for many people."
click to enlarge LEA THOMPSON
  • Lea Thompson
Ybarra's family originated in Parras de la Fuente in Coahuila, Mexico – home to the first wines in the Americas – and he hopes to bring that history to San Antonio with a new fall lineup of coffee classes, wine and chocolate tastings and candy-making events.

In the meantime, Ybarra is inviting coffee lovers to enter Café Azteca's Instagram contest, tagging friends and following the company on social media for a chance to win a year of free coffee.

“San Antonio is home; I always dreamed of opening a coffee shop here,” he said. “I'm excited to grow the Azteca family."
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