Mexico is a diverse country with microclimates and terrain that produces spectacular coffee. Though the first plantations took root in the late 18th Century, coffee was only an afterthought to a colonial empire built upon the mineral wealth of the land. As Mexico was constructing its infrastructure to support the coffee trade, the state-run coffee organization (INMECAFE) collapsed and brought with it dire forecasts for Mexico’s coffee producers. With great strength and determination, the people of Mexico bounced back.
Mexican coffee is grown in a variety of areas, each as unique as the cultures and traditions that call Mexico home. All coffee is grown in mid to high altitudes ranging from 900 meters to 1800 meters, allowing it ample time to develop the prized flavors. Though nine regions are capable of producing coffee, four are by far the largest: Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Veracruz.
Mountainous and dotted with Mayan reasons, this awe-inspiring region shares a border with Huehuetenango Guatemala (which we previous wrote about here). Small land holders primarily produce the coffee from this region through dozens of tiny hand processing operations. The coffees produced here are citric, reminiscent of a tangerine, with rich dark chocolate tasting notes. These attributes allow it to be used as a complimentary coffee in many blends, sometimes taking the place of Brazilian coffee as a filler.
This storied region has impressed coffee buyers since the 19th century. Rich with a heavier body than other Mexican coffees, it is unique among the lighter and floral characteristics of other areas. Like Chiapas, small land holders dominate the production but due to a budding tourist industry, larger estates that cater to visitors have begun popping up.
Dotted with jungles, this central state contains a plethora of isolated communities. The coffee growing portions are relatively close together, affording buyers quick and easy access to the estates and co-operatives contained within. Coffees from this region are prized for their wine-like acidity, similar to a deep red wine, and stone-fruit qualities.
Stepping away from the sandy beaches and beautiful vistas of the coastal towns, the traveler will encounter hidden valleys and tropical mountains in the region’s west. Exemplary soil conditions and microclimates spread throughout give Veracruz a lush environment for coffee growing. The land imparts both tropical fruit and floral characteristics to the coffee.
Mexican coffees continue to stun coffee buyers. Previously unappreciated coffees have been discovered, improved, and roasted by respected operations in the US and around the world. Specialty coffee from Mexico is exciting and to those that discover it. Let's thank our neighbors to the south by enjoying one of our blends featuring these fine coffees!