An El Paso specialty coffee…
Casey Paxton and Marcela Olivas are the proprietors of Mas y Menos, a neighborhood Coffee, Wine, and Craft Beer Bar. The inception of Mas y Menos came about when the couple started dating roughly 5 years ago.
Casey frequently traveled back and forth between Austin TX and El Paso TX. to visit Marcela. While he was in El Paso, he was looking for a neighborhood coffee shop that mirrored his Clarksville neighborhood coffee shop Café Medici in Austin.
“Starting my day at Café Medici in my neighborhood was one of my favorite daily routines, for me and my dog Fancy. Fancy and I would walk 5-6 six city blocks to the shop, see people from the neighborhood; some would be working at the shop; some people would be with their kids and some with their pets; cyclists would start and stop their rides from the coffee shop and it really was a fabulous place. When I moved to El Paso, I knew I wanted to create something similar here”.
Another motivating aspect of the shop centered around Casey’s hobby of cycling. “Coffee and Craft beer culture are huge in the cycling community. Often times group rides start at a coffee shop for an espresso. Then, after the ride, you end it with a beer, because you’ve earned it.”
It’s all about location…
After scouting locations for over a year, the 1035 Belvidere location became available in Dec 2017 and momentum built quickly. The beginning of demolition to the completed build out took roughly six months. The end product is an open concept café with lots of natural light and mixed textures throughout. The bartop is butcher block and actually has two bullets milled in half in the bar, the backsplash features tile, and the centerpiece of the operation is an Italian 3 Group La Marzocco FB80 Espresso machine (the Ferrari of espresso machines). Marcela’s family was instrumental in connecting the couple to people to help bring the Coffee/Wine/Beer concept to life. Guiding the couple to use a local bank Vantage Bank and local construction Guard Building Corp, to get the project going.
What makes us different?
Mas y Menos is similar to other specialty coffee shops, but with a twist, typically coffee shops are great places to hang out, have a conversation and get your caffeine fix, but great shops have the ability to do more, to create community and be a gathering place for people. However, the financial and business limitations associated with coffee shops is that people really only saturate them in the morning, (the golden hours for coffee shops are typically between 8AM and 11AM) A specialty coffee shop doesn’t typically use the space efficiently. To overcome this limitation Mas y Menos pairs beer and wine with a coffee concept. Mas y Menos isn’t the first to take a run at this concept, Casey mentions Brew and Brew, and Radio both from Austin, and Cartel of Tucson as the trend setting shops where he and Marcela mirrored the concept.
The journey of idea’s and Casey and Marcela’s relationship has led to the neighborhood Coffee Wine and Craft Beer Bar Mas y Menos which is located on the west side of El Paso on the corner of Belvidere and Westwind.
Doing things well and being a local accessible business are of great importance to Casey and Marcela. “We really care about doing things well, and have a passion for great coffee, craft beer and wine, but there’s more to it than just selling beverages”
“We try to engage the community and contribute to the neighborhood. We offer things like Yoga on the Patio with Aloha Yoga and Wellness; Casey leads bike rides on Sunday mornings; we have painting classes some evenings with Nudha Boutique; numerous groups hold meetings at the shop. So often times there is a lot going on at the shop”
On El Paso coffee culture…
“We feel that we’re also trying to lift the collective level of coffee in El Paso by doing things like having coffee cuppings to educate our clientele about why specialty beans are important, and how we differ from something like Starbucks or home use KCups. We recently hosted the first open Latte Art Competition (Latte Art Throw down) in El Paso. Inviting other coffee shops in town to compete for prizes in a tournament bracket.
Specialty doesn’t mean snobby…
Other El Paso specialty coffee shops like Coffee Party, District, and Hillside Coffee came and competed. So it’s kinda cool to bring something like that to El Paso. In Austin or San Francisco, these competitions are pretty common place. But the culture here isn’t quite as mature yet, however we’re trying to change that!”
Specialty doesn’t mean snobby, and our passionate staff of barista’s is happy to engage in a conversation about what’s the perfect cup of joe just for you.
At Mas y Menos they love specialty coffee. They source their coffee beans only from Specialty Coffee Association roasters such as Casa Cafetzin from Juarez, SpyHouse from Minneapolis and Sweetbloom from Denver. They try to attain 60% of their craft beer from the great state of Texas and also New Mexico, so you’ll often times see a couple Deadbeach beers on the board, and you can also get PUR cold pressed juice another local El Paso business at the shop.
“As a new neighborhood business, we’d really like to thank the neighborhood for all the support we’ve received. It’s really been extraordinary. We have so much gratitude! Is the people that have helped us be what we’ve become at Mas y Menos”. When they’re not slinging espresso or pouring craft beer and wine. Casey is a software engineer for a large corporation and Marcela is a purchasing manager for a local business conglomerate.