2020 AUGUST DISCOVERY
CHOCOLATE, FUDGE, CURLY WURLY
FARM: VARIOUS SMALLHOLDERS
VARIETALS: BOURBON, TYPICA, CATURRA, MUNDO NOVO
ALTITUDE: 1200 - 1800 MASL
This coffee comes with regional and often micro-regional traceability, but are not farm- or producer-specific. We’ve sourced this coffee to highlight the unique profiles we have found in these microclimates. Local variables like wind patterns, soil quality, sunlight, elevation, and other environmental influencers have much to do with the common characteristics that separate, say, a Northern Colombian from a Southern Colombian coffee, just as they inform the differences between a Colombian and a Kenyan.
There is usually a difference in style and substance between regions and microregions. For example, in the Coatapec region of Mexico, producers tend to deliver cherries to the mill, but there are many small producers with micromills and raised beds—where in Chiapas you find small producers depulping by hand and drying wherever they can, to deliver dry parchment to a central repository.
HISTORY OF COFFEE IN MEXICO
As throughout most of Mesoamerica, Mexico was first planted in coffee during early colonial times, most likely in the late 18th century. Due to the greater attention paid to the region's rich mineral desposits and mining opportunities, however, coffee didn't really develop as an industry until later, especially coming into its own in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the redistribution of farms after independence and the emergence of smallholder farmers, specifically those of indigenous origin. In the late 20th century, the Mexican government established a national coffee institution called INMECAFE, which, like the FNC in Colombia and ICAFE in Costa Rica, was developed in order to offer technical assistance, botanical information and material, and financial credits to producers. Unfortunately, INMECAFE was something of a short-lived experiment, and dissolved in 1989, leaving growers with a vacuum in their access to support and resources—especially those in very remote rural areas. This disruption to the infrastructure as well as the coffee crisis that followed the end of the International Coffee Agreement plunged Mexico's coffee farmers into despairing financial times, which of course in turn affected quality dramatically. Throughout the 1990s and since the beginning of the 21st century, an increased presence, influence, and focus of Fair Trade and Fairtrade certifications and the emphasis of the democratically run small-farmer cooperative organization has worked to transform the image of Mexican coffee to one that reflects sustainability, affordability, and relatively easy logistics, considering its proximity to the United States.
In recent years, Mexico has struggled mightily with coffee-leaf rust and other pathogens that have reduced both yield and cup quality. This, combined with enormous turnover of land ownership and loss of labour to emigration and relocation has created a somewhat tentative future for the producing country, though Mexico is well on truly on the map as a country offering excellent speciality coffee.