Coffees from the Americas: Mexico
Most Mexico coffee comes from the southern part of the country, where the continent narrows and takes a turn to the east. Veracruz State, on the gulf side of the central mountain range, produces mostly lowland coffees, but coffees called Altura (High) Coatepec, from a mountainous region near the city of that name, have an excellent reputation. Other Veracruz coffees of note are Altura Orizaba and Altura Huatusco. Coffees from the opposite, southern slopes of the central mountain range, in Oaxaca State, are also highly regarded, and marketed under the names Oaxaca or Oaxaca Pluma. Coffees from Chiapas State are grown in the mountains of the southeastern-most corner of Mexico, near the border with Guatemala. The market name traditionally associated with these coffees is Tapachula, from the city of that name, but coffee sellers now usually label them Chiapas. Chiapas produces some of the very best and highest-grown Mexico coffees.
The typical fine Mexico coffee is analogous to a good light white wine -- delicate in body, with a pleasantly dry, acidy snap. If you drink your coffee black and prefer a light, acidy cup, you will like these typical Mexico specialty coffees. However, some Mexico coffees, particularly those from high growing regions in Chiapas, rival the best Guatemala coffees in high-grown power and complexity.
Mexico is also the origin of many of the certified organically grown coffees now appearing on North American specialty menus. These are often excellent coffees certified by various independent monitoring agencies to be grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or other harmful chemicals.
Coffee from many of the most admired Mexican estates seldom appears on the United States market, but is sold almost exclusively into Europe, particularly Germany. Some of these names, should they ever become relevant for the North American aficionado, include Liquidambar, Santa Catarina, Irlandia, Germania, and Hamburgo.
Coffees from the Americas:
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Adapted from Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing & Enjoying; Espresso: Ultimate Coffee; and Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival. St. Martin's Press.
Copyright © 1996, 2001 by Kenneth Davids. All Rights Reserved.