D’Volada: The Mexican Starbucks…or anti-Starbucks


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It’s hard to miss the many  D’Volada coffee shops around Tijuana. D’Volada’s franchises sport green-and-white exteriors and woodsy interiors that remind me of a certain global coffee business north of the border.  But the interesting thing about D’Volada is that its founders saw an unmet need  – not so many coffee places in Mexican cities – and got a head start before the inevitable Starbucks invasion.

The D’Volada brand started here in Tijuana in in 2ooo. Since then, D’Volada – which means roughly “on the go” – has really taken flight, expanding to eight other states in Mexico. It seems to be particularly popular among the bleary-eyed commuters heading to San Diego in the wee morning hours (roving  D’Volada employess will take orders from your car). D’Volada has even crosed into the United States with a D’Volada shop in Chula Vista, Calif., the home of many  upper-income Tijuana expats.

When Starbucks arrived in Tijuana in 2007 you could almost smell the coffee wars brewing. USC professor Josh Kun, who calls D’Volada a “glocal” success story, wrote a story in the Los Angeles Times that explores how the arrival of Starbucks in Tijuana evoked manifestations of Mexico’s class divisions. I’m not a coffee connoisseur, so all I can say is that I may drink Starbucks north of the border but I support the homegrown brand when I’m in Mexico.

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4 responses to “D’Volada: The Mexican Starbucks…or anti-Starbucks

  1. i love D’volada 😛

  2. I’ve now discovered the McDonald’s across from the Cecut–they’ve gone cafe-style, they have wi-fi and you can’t beat the view of El Cubo and Paseo de los Heroes. A medium coffee and a pie is only 18 pesos. Am not one to promote McDonald’s, but this is a surprisingly hip and urban one.

  3. No kidding? That’s such a deal ! Thanks for the tip on that one…I will have to check it out.

  4. Well I agree, introducing american brands into mexican territory has always marked classes, but coffee more so because now a days, instead of it being a privilege to the few or a random pleasure, it has become a social thing, a symbol. What kind of coffee can you afford? Are you and AM/PM person? Are you a Dunkin’ Donuts person? Are you a 7/11 person? Are you a home made person? Or are you a Starbucks person?

    Here in TJ, having the border so close by, a major factor for dividing classes has always been the american brands, either meaning you can both affor to cross the border (and eat, drive and spend there) by buying the original clothing, or you are high classes in spirit for buying the copied clothings. But now that the brands are making their way to Tijuana itself, well… everything will be more evident.

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