Spotlight On Mexico
There are so many regions of the world in which coffee is not only a key part of the economy, but it is also a true source of pride for those coffee-cultivating nations. These areas possess particular characteristics that allow coffee plants to flourish, resulting in a refreshing cup of coffee with a unique flavor profile.
Through our blog, we have examined the coffee culture of several of these places, and now, it’s our pleasure to spotlight one of the top ten coffee-producing countries in the world—Mexico.
Mexico is the 9th largest producer of coffee worldwide, and is THE largest producer of organic coffee. As the United States is Mexico’s neighbor to the north, most Mexican coffee is exported to the U.S. When it comes to agriculture, coffee is one of the main crops grown in Mexico, and is of course, a very valuable export. Coffee production has helped boost the economy of some of the poorer states in Mexico, so many small farmers and their families rely on it for survival.
In the 1700s, Spanish settlers from Cuba and the Dominican Republic introduced coffee to Mexico. However, coffee was not commercially cultivated until several years later, when German and Italian immigrants relocated to Mexico from various Central American nations. The very first coffee plantations appeared in southeastern Mexico in the 1790s. Over time, with Mexico’s abundance of mineral deposits, exports like gold, silver, and oil took precedence over coffee. When Mexico gained independence from Spain, coffee cultivation really picked up and thrived on plantations.
By the 20th century, the Mexican government saw coffee as an important contributor to the nation’s economy, as it not only aided in developing rural economies, but also in generating foreign investment.
How It is Grown
Mexico is considered a subtropical region for growing coffee, as it has very specific wet and dry seasons. Here, coffee is ideally grown at altitudes of 1,800-3,600 ft, and the vast majority of coffee is wet processed, meaning the skin and pulp is removed from the bean while the coffee fruit is still moist. It is also predominantly of the Arabica variety. Most coffee farms are located in the southern Mexican states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Puebla, and coffees in each of these states are grown under different conditions.
Veracruz is located on the Gulf of Mexico, and its lush hillsides and mild climate are perfect for growing coffee. In Oaxaca, a mountainous southern state, coffee is grown at high altitudes, in lots of shade, and with softer beans that develop faster. Furthermore, in Chiapas, which is the southern most state In Mexico, the coffee is also grown at high altitudes, in rich, volcanic soils, humid climate, and ample shade. Finally, Puebla is a very jungle-like region located in central and eastern Mexico. The climates and mountainous conditions are similar to that of Veracruz.
Mexican coffee generally has lovely aroma and depth of flavor, with sharpness to it. With the varied conditions of these four main regions, you can expect the coffees produced to also be slightly different.
Coffees grown in Oaxaca and the lower parts of Chiapas have a characteristic light body, and are pleasantly acidic, while coffees grown in the higher Chiapas areas are bolder and much richer in acidity. Veracruz coffees have a fuller body, citrusy flavors, and chocolaty hints, and Puebla coffees have a medium body and more of fruitiness.
At CoffeeAM, we carry coffees from all over the world including Mexico, so please visit us today for an unforgettable global experience. Be sure to check back for another edition of coffee country spotlights, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them here!