The Bean Cafe, Mesilla, NM: Great House-Roasted Coffee, Glacial Kitchen
Was down in Las Cruces this weekend and happened upon the Bean Cafe for brunch, a nifty little indie coffeehouse in Old Mesilla.
The big surprise was their truly excellent house-roasted drip coffee, all single origin and light roast. A local coffee roaster isn't like a local craft brewery; whereas your local brewpub will likely have a few serviceable beers, there is just a lot of awful locally roasted coffee out there, often either miserably overroasted (Ohori's in Santa Fe), or undernuanced and bland (Whiting in ABQ). But the Bean nailed it, with a nice, even city or city+ roast, then actually brewed using enough coffee to add the needed body to this lighter style. Didn't see any espresso drinks, but their smallish machine looked real enough. Drip is bottomless, although you have to go up to the counter to ask for refills; I tried several coffees (I remember Rwanda & Honduras) and they were all beautifully done.
My breakfast quesadilla was a decently tasty combo of scrambled eggs, green chile, and cheese in a thin, grilled flour tortilla, with sides of a nicely spicy red salsa and home fries. Nothing fancy, but perfectly solid. That said, it took over 45 minutes for it to arrive, which was kind of brutal. I noticed several people complaining about the wait, and it was unclear if this was a typical Sunday brunch rush, if they were abnormally mobbed (parking lot was a disaster), if the kitchen was short-staffed, or perhaps all of the above. But regardless, you have been warned.
Made-on-premeses baked goods didn't look over-the-top great, but you never know. Digs are the typical indie coffeehouse array of mismatched stuff, with a lovely outdoor patio out front.
Breakfast quesadilla + coffee was just south of 10 bucks, pricey by SNM standards, but the coffee was good enough that I'd go again without batting an eyelash.
Yeah, I like Michael Thomas up in ABQ quite a bit. If nothing else they actually consider the degree to which the coffee "wants" to be roasted, so they don't totally ruin something like Sidamo by overroasting. Plus their ambiance is cool.
Between Michael Thomas and the Bean Cafe, I'd say the scale actually tips towards the Bean Cafe, it was some of the better local roast coffee I've had in a good long while. Not worth driving to Cruces just for the coffee, but really respectable all the same.