Mexico's Coffee Farm Region
If you are a fan of coffee, we are sure you will love nothing more than trying coffee beans from around the world. One place you definitely should not miss off the list is Mexico!
Mexico is a country of contrasting landscapes and rich traditions. A land of expansive deserts, snow-capped peaks, cool cloud forests, and the captivating beauty of its two famous coastlines, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
Every town in Mexico has its own unique traditions and culinary flair. Who wouldn’t want to take a bite of Mexico’s most popular snack, enchiladas? And the perfect pair for any Mexican food, whether it be a snack or pastry, is, of course, Mexican coffee.
Because of its central location, close to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Mexico is perfect for the cultivation of Arabica beans. Mexico’s coffee plants tend to flower 3 to 4 times each year due to its location and diverse climate. The months from November to March usually see successful harvesting of coffee crops.
Mexico has significantly varying terrain, but many of the coffee beans that are grown (around 40%) are from medium- to high-altitude forests.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about coffee from this vibrant and beautiful country.
The Land in Mexico
A massive 90 percent of the coffee in Mexico is produced in four states in the southern part of the country:
- 44 percent in Chiapas
- 29 percent in Veracruz
- 11 percent in Puebla
- 11 percent in Oaxaca
Key Coffee Regions in Mexico
Coffee in Mexico is classified by the altitude at which it is grown, and most of it is used for blending dark-roasted coffee.
Most of Mexico’s coffee comes from its southern regions, where the landmass curves to the east and becomes narrower.
- Chiapas - The hot, tropical climate of this region has great growing conditions and produces a fairly consistent output. Volcanoes in this region have provided fertile soil that delivers nutrients to the coffee plants, helping them flower.
- Veracruz - This region is situated on the gulf side of Mexico’s central mountain range. In the lowland areas, where most of the region’s coffee is grown, the crops are considered unremarkable. However, the mountainous parts nearby produce the well-known Altura Coatepec.
- Oaxaca - In the southern state of Oaxaca, from the southern slopes of the central mountains, the Oaxaca Pluma coffee is cultivated.
- Puebla - Lying just to the east of Mexico City, it is one of the larger states in Mexico.
“High Grown” = High Quality
Coffee produced from the regions of Chiapas and Oaxaca is called Altura, which translates to “high grown”. When it comes to coffee production, higher almost always means better.
Mexican Altura coffee beans are considered to be very high quality and are among the finest grown in the Americas. Now that’s what you call higher ground!
Small Farm Coffee Producers
Most of the coffee from Mexico is grown in small, privately-owned farms, and dried and picked by hand, making Mexico one of the most abundant exporters of organic coffee.
Its close proximity to the US allows the majority of these high-quality coffees to be shipped directly, which gives it a lower price in the US market.
What makes Mexican coffee so great?
Mexican coffees tend to stand out for their ability to carry lots of nutty sweetness and chocolate across all roast levels.
The typical cup that you would expect from specialty Mexican coffee contains delicious candy bar flavors, making Mexican coffee a real crowd pleaser.
The premium specialty-grade Mexican coffees are akin to a glass of good white wine! They are dry with a delicate body, delivering gentle fruitiness and sweetness, and the experience is finished off with an acidic snap.
Mexican Coffee Characteristics
Mexican coffee is for coffee lovers who love a mild and light-bodied brew. Light body and low acidity, plus a nutty flavor is often how Mexican coffee is described. The finest coffee from Mexico has an acidy snap, a delicate body, and a very pleasant dryness – like that of a fine white wine.
Because of the different coffee-growing regions in the country, Mexican coffee has a wide variety of tastes and overtones. This results in a coffee that isn’t complex and can serve as a base for different blends.
Chiapas, which grows the highest-quality coffee beans in Mexico, is situated near the Mexican-Guatemalan border and its coffee is known for its distinct delicate, light flavor and rich, brisk acidity with a medium to light body.
It is said that a cup of Chiapas coffee can rival the powerful flavor and complexity of a much finer Guatemalan coffee.
Best Brew Methods for Mexican Beans
In Mexico, coffee is often brewed with sugar and cinnamon. Yum! Sugar and cinnamon aren’t simply added to the coffee once it has been brewed. They are incorporated as part of the brewing technique.
The result is a coffee that is spicy yet sweet at the same time. Give it a try!
Preferred Roast Types
The best Mexican coffees tend to be medium roasts. However, you can find lighter and darker options, so you are bound to find something to satisfy your taste buds.
Mexican Coffee Blends and Brands
Mexican coffee is preferred by many people because of its range of brightness and body and its very subtle flavor. Mexican coffee is priced reasonably, making it affordable to try each flavor from different regions of Mexico.
Chiapas coffee, often labeled with the market name Tapachula, can be distinguished by its rich, brisk acidity and light, delicate flavor with a light to medium body.
Café Bustello, a decent espresso, is made from one of the few common shelf brands of pre-ground coffee produced from Mexico. Although it’s not considered to be a remarkable coffee, it has a pleasant taste and is reckoned to be good for kickstarting your mornings or for an afternoon brew.
Other examples include the respected Altura Coatepec and the Coaxa Pluma. The former, named after the town of Coatepec, is distinguished by its nutty flavor, light body, and a brightness with traces of chocolate. Coaxa Pluma, on the other hand, is also known for its light body and light acidity.
Unfortunately, most of the high-quality coffee from Mexico is sold to European buyers, and is particularly popular with Germans. Some of these are Germanis, Irlandia, Santa Catarina, and Liquidambar. If you ever travel to Europe, or you’re European (lucky you!), you should definitely give these a try.
Although the US imports less premium coffee and beans, Mexican coffee beans generally have a great taste that most people will enjoy every day.
What is the Best Mexican Coffee?
Now that you have a better understanding of Mexican coffee and what makes it so great, let’s take a look at some of the best options on the market today:
Whole Bean or Ground
Best Altura Coffee
|Whole Bean or Ground
|Whole Bean or Ground
|Whole Bean or Ground
Best Overall: Volcanica Mexican Organic Coffee
Volcanica Mexican Organic Coffee is a medium roast that is grown in Mexico’s Chiapas region. It is 100 percent Arabica and you can purchase it as ground or whole bean coffee.
As you may have gathered from the name, it is grown in volcanic areas, where mineral-rich soil is ideal for producing premium-quality beans.
Volcanica Mexican Organic Coffee tastes incredible, highlighting the chocolatey, nutty flavor notes that you would typically expect from this area. You get a balanced and smooth cup of coffee thanks to the earthiness of the cocoa and the sweetness of the hazelnut.
Another reason we love this coffee is that Volcania works directly with collectives or farms, ensuring that all beans are sourced sustainably.
You can also get this coffee in a dark roast version, which brings out sweeter flavors like maple syrup and brown sugar.
Best Altura Coffee: Out Of The Grey Mexican Custepec SHG
You may be wondering what the ‘SHG’ in the name means. Well, it stands for Strictly High Grown Beans, which is the highest grade of coffee beans grown in Mexico.
These coffee beans are grown at altitudes over 4,000 feet. You can expect a more concentrated flavor because the beans develop at a slower pace.
The resulting coffee is one that is very much traditional for the Chiapas part of Mexico; a nutty and creamy flavor palate, with the sweetness of caramel.
Upgrade Pick: Velton’s Mexico Nayarita
Earlier, we spoke about the four main coffee-growing regions in Mexico. Nayarit was not on there but this does not mean that this part of the country does not deliver fine coffee.
Located on the west coast, the state of Nayarit has become a real contender with regard to specialty beans.
While people may only be just getting familiar with this part of Mexico, the coffee here goes back to a group of French families who start the first farms back in the 1860s.
Budget Pick: Parisi Mexico Oaxaca Coffee Beans
If you are looking to enjoy a premium quality coffee without the premium price tag, Parisi Mexico Oaxaca Coffee Beans definitely delivers.
These medium roast coffee beans are grown in the Oaxaca region. In the southern part of Oaxaca, you will locate some of the state’s highest mountains, where the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range passes through.
This area is known for being a prime location for coffee production. This is because it delivers excellent rainfall, high altitude, and outstanding biodiversity.
The beans are sourced from a number of small farms in this part of Mexico, with the conventional wash processing approach being used so that the coffee bean’s true flavor shines.
Rather than being a fruit-leaning flavor, this coffee has big hits of nutty and earthy tones. You can expect the taste of roasted peanuts and chocolate to come to light, with a sweetness in nougat and caramel.
How to Make a Cup of “Mexican Coffee” at Home
“Mexican coffee” is a type of coffee blend that takes full advantage of the light flavor of Mexican coffee varieties. It is a gourmet-like creation that you can make at home.
- Step 1: Start by adding in your favorite Mexican coffee beans, then add two teaspoons of powered cinnamon to the filter basket as the coffee is being brewed.
- Step 2: While the coffee is being brewed, simmer a cup of milk, 1/3 cup of chocolate syrup, and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar on the stovetop until the sugar slowly disappears.
- Step 3: Pour the mixture into cups filled with your coffee/cinnamon combination with a bit of vanilla extract. You can add more cinnamon or top it with whipped cream to make it more like it was made by a pro barista.
Time for your Mexican coffee experience!
We’re sure your mouth is watering now, so we won’t keep you any longer. If you want a vibrant, sweet, and delightful cup of coffee, you cannot go wrong with Mexican coffee beans.
Start off with one of the coffees mentioned above, and you won’t be disappointed. And, don’t forget to try the Mexican method of brewing, with sugar and cinnamon, for a real sweet yet spicy treat - you may never want to spend money in your local gourmet coffee shop again!
In general, coffee beans produced from Mexico make the ideal cup for coffee lovers who want their coffee light and smooth, and don’t need anything else to make it great.
Next time you have friends over, try whipping up some Mexican Coffee.