Cafe de Tolteca aims to become a venue known for their art and coffee


Sergio Muñoz

Cafe de Tolteca features organic ingredients on their menu such as raw honey and lavender

Claudia Flores, Staff Reporter

Café de Tolteca is a new coffee place that brings together the familiar flavors of the Southwest and those unique to the El Paso region.

Located at 602 Magoffin Ave., Ste. 1B, Café de Tolteca opened its doors back in March.

“The opening of this coffee shop happened by both the preservation of the historic Toltec building and my passion for ecology, sustainable agriculture and food systems,” said Isabella Uribe, owner of Café de Tolteca.

Uribe said the café is named after the Toltec building itself and that her family helped decide in the Spanish translation as a reference to the unique border community.

Café de Tolteca offers a variety of drinks such as the honey latte, made with raw organic honey, lavender latte, containing lavender extract and the cacao mocha prepared with raw cacao. Their signature drink is their arroz con café (rice and coffee) latte.

“While I was traveling from state to state for years studying biology and different agricultural philosophies, I sometimes would feel nostalgic for the flavors of the southwest and family recipes,” Uribe said. “When I returned to my roots in El Paso, this remembered nostalgia is what inspired recipes such as the arroz con café, which I believe is considered our house drink.”

Among the ingredients in their signature drink are steamed rice milk with cinnamon poured over espresso and homemade vanilla syrup.

Uribe said this drink evokes a taste reminiscent to her grandmother’s arroz con leche.

Café de Tolteca also serves different alternatives to milk that include rice milk, coconut milk and soy milk.

Bowie Bakery is currently partnered with Café de Tolteca, offering pastries and other baked goods. The café also expects to work with other local bakeries.

Uribe also said that they are trying to expand their menu into food items that go beyond just pastries.

“We are in the process of getting our license so we can introduce more food into the menu,” she said. “We are trying to work more with Adam Marshall, an awesome person, who runs Good Days Trading Company.”

Besides serving coffee and pastries, Café de Tolteca provides evening events that features local artists and bands.

Uribe also said that they are trying to expand their menu into food items that go beyond just pastries. “We are in the process of getting our license so we can introduce more food into the menu,” she said.

“Lately we have had the honor to provide venue services for many talents including many local and touring bands/musicians, as well as for recurring events such as our open mic series, a social senior group, and a new yoga group,” Uribe said. “We are pretty open to most things, we’ve hosted a grindcore band from Italy, a Midwestern pop-punk band, artists from the southwest, and other fun events like a Wes Anderson cosplay art show.”

Freshman double major in physics and anthropology Lilli Ayoub attended the Wes Anderson cosplay show and said she is interested in supporting a local business that enables artists to thrive in the local art scene.

“I like to support local businesses and they are also located in a historic building which is really interesting. I attended their Moonrise Kingdom costume party in June and a lot of my friends had an art show there,” Ayoub said. “I just think it is cool that they show a lot of the young aspiring artists’ work at the café. It is also great because you are contributing to El Paso’s economy through the cover fee, paying the artists and musicians.

Ayoub noted the costume parties at Café de Tolteca as her favorite events.

“These are people who are interested in making El Paso a hotspot for art, film, culture and music. I’d like to see them do more costume-related events because I like to dress up and see what creative costumes other people are wearing,” she said

Open Mic series’ are a biweekly event on Thursdays at Café de Tolteca and the upcoming dates are Nov. 2 and 16.

“That is something we conceptualized from the onset that we wanted to do and gotten together to do and it picked up a lot of interest so that is how we morphed into hosting other acts that were coming through,” Uribe said. “We get people who want to read their poetry and we get people coming in with their guitars ready to play their music. We are interested in growing as a venue, we want to do art crawls where we mix the performing artists with different artists who bring their art to showcase. We are looking to do another original themed event for thanksgiving.”

Café de Tolteca is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Claudia Flores may be reached at [email protected]