Mexico: New Specialty Coffee Contender
History of Mexican Coffee
Coffee arrived in Mexico in the late 18th Century. Spanish colonists brought the plants from Cuba and the Dominican for domestic use. The commercial coffee industry in Mexico would take many years to develop, surviving struggles with quality, rust disease, and land turnover.
Mexican coffee has been viewed as a cheaper, low-grown blender coffee. Only recently has Mexico become a contributor in the high-end specialty coffee market. The industry perception is changing from a mediocre expectation to the realization that Mexico has great coffee. Today, Mexico is one of the largest organic exporters of coffee in the world.
You may be familiar with some of the below regions that coffee comes from in Mexico.
Growing Regions of Mexico:
Taste of the Terrain
Coffee in Mexico is defined by the elevation it is grown at. The majority of Mexico's coffee is grown in the southern regions, where the landmass narrows into mountainous terrain. This is the location of the steep and volcanic Sierra Madre de Chiapas mountain range. This mountain range contains the El Triunfo Biosphere natural reserve. It is the most diverse cloud forest in Mexico, and perfect for growing coffee.
The cooler temperatures at higher altitudes slow the growth cycle of coffee. This allows more complex flavors to develop, and with volcanic soil, produces better coffee. For more info on how these conditions affect your coffee’s flavor, visit our Farming Practices Page.
The Talent on the Farm
A country with favorable climate and elevation for growing, Mexico has great potential for specialty coffee. One of the most exciting aspects that sets Mexico’s coffee apart is the high volume of Fair Trade and organic-certified coffees. Indigenous groups and cultures have been influential in smallholders’ acceptance of organic processes. They often share common ground with traditional farming practices and techniques.
Fair Trade has been a great encouragement to average farmers, who own between 2 and 12 acres, to take part in democratic co-ops. These cooperatives allow farmers to combine resources and provide greater access to financing. This has been instrumental in changing the image of Mexican coffee to one of sustainability and affordability.
Almost all Mexican coffee growers use the washed processing method. Many pick and process their Arabica beans by hand to ensure the best quality. For more info on processing methods, visit our Coffee Processing Methods page.