Anyone who knows me knows that not only do I love a good cup of coffee, but I am also thrilled when I discover a good coffee shop. Good coffee is not hard to find, but a good coffee shop is a rare thing. Sure, every day a new one pops up somewhere around here, but most of them will eventually disappear, realizing quite late in their existence that they really didn’t know a damn thing about making a good cup of coffee.
But if you live in the McAllen/Mission area you must go try Reserva Coffee Roasters. They are the exception.
This new coffee shop is a true coffee shop in every sense of the word. It’s not some bakery that just happens to serve coffee. Nor is it one of those places that must keep making up new drinks every day that have nothing to do with coffee just to get people in the door. You know the kind. One day they are making coffee and the next they making strange milkshakes and snow cones or filling up a pineapple with 5 different juices and topping it with whip cream and chili powder. They are not a snack bar.
No. Reserva Coffee Roasters is not that. This is a real coffee shop.
This coffee shop “engineers” coffee. Michelle Quiroz, co-founder of Reserva Coffee Roasters, is a mechanical engineer by trade. Michelle and her husband Danny took the scary plunge into the small business world just a few months ago and opened this delightful coffee shop in McAllen, Texas. Once while at the coffee shop (drinking an exceptionally good white chocolate mocha) I asked her how does someone go from about a decade of being an engineer to suddenly opening a coffee shop? Her response was classic, “I’m still an engineer. I just engineer coffee now.” And she does. When I visit the shop I often see her and her staff hard at work perfecting the art of coffee making. Everything behind their counter gives me the sense of a mixture of part laboratory and part artist studio. The barista staff are all professionals who were expertly trained, and it shows. They take great care in making your cup of coffee. This isn’t coffee made conveyor belt style like they do at Starbucks (ugh, don’t get me started). These are baristas proud of the work they do.
Their coffee menu is classic. They offer all the standards along with the latest mixes of the newest coffee concoctions available, and probably one or two they came up with themselves. If you want a good regular cup of coffee, try the Guatemalan blend. It’s amazing. If you are into something fancier just ask. When I try a new coffee shop I always ask for a white chocolate mocha. It’s simple to make and equally so easy to get wrong. Then I go back the next day and ask for it again. If it tastes different I just never go back again. Go try that trick at Starbucks. You’ll get a different tasting drink there every single time. That is what happens when you don’t care about how you make your coffee.
There is probably nothing this coffee shop can’t make for you. A barista there, who wished to remain anonymous, hinted that their coffee beans came from many far off lands around the world and, once roasted in house, develop magical properties. I don’t doubt it. Their coffee has, on more than one occasion, stopped me from strangling a Trump supporter or two. That is not easy to do. Not an easy thing to do at all.
But coffee is not all this place is about. There are pastries too. Yes, I said it, pastries. Those things my doctor keeps telling me to stop eating. Lucky for me the coffee here is good enough that it does not need a pastry to go with it. But if you want some they make them here, – from scratch. Homemade little pieces of heaven just like my mom used to make (but better, sorry mom). I personally love their pineapple filled empanadas, but they also make them in strawberry. My problem is that they always forget to label and separate them, so I keep buying them and eating them until I come to a pineapple filled one. Then I eat that one too. They also make amazing hot-from-the-oven cookies and a mouth watering chocolate-filled croissant that you just have to try to believe. This is one of the few coffee shops around here with a first-class bakery right inside of it.
The inside of the shop is cozy and inviting. The music is never too loud, and the baristas keep the place clean all day long. They have comfortable cushioned seating along the walls and some four-person and two-person tables to sit down and drink coffee with your friends. The place seats about 50+ people and is just the perfect size for a coffee shop. They also have a few bar stools where you can sit along a window counter you can watch the bakers do their magic (do it, it makes them nervous). And, if you aren’t the type of person that melts in our lovely RGV heat, there are few tables outside where you can sit and enjoy your coffee.
Look, anyone that knows me knows that I like my coffee and I like to jump around to different coffee shops to try them out, but I rarely recommend any of them. Almost never (I’ve only done it one other time). Not all coffee shops are created equal. If I tell you to try one, it’s because it’s worth the trip. So, if you live in the McAllen/Mission area then go visit Reserva Coffee Roasters. Tell them I sent you. They’ll look at you funny because they will have no earthly idea who the hell you are talking about but tell them anyway. It’s always good for a laugh.
I have a t-shirt that reads “I have a Keurig and I am not afraid to use it.” I like to wear it to coffee shops just to make baristas nervous. But I don’t wear it to Reserva Coffee Roasters. They know what they are doing. If I could give them more than 5 stars on their review page I would.
Go pay them a visit and see what I’m talking about.