Mexican coffee is one of a kind. The land of the Aztecs is not only known for its excellent tequila and the beautiful white sandy beaches – one of the spiciest and most aromatic coffees in the world is grown and processed in Mexico. Thanks to its ecologically grown organic coffee and the high-quality Maragogype bean, Mexico has long since become one of the most important coffee producers in the world.
Mexican coffee history
As early as the end of the 18th century, the coffee bean came to Mexico via detours from Ethiopia – the birthplace of coffee. Locals soon realized that the alien-looking red cherry seemed to thrive in the highlands.
The coffee plant quickly spread from Córdoba to the south of the country, making Mexico the third largest coffee exporting country on the American continent today. The shrubs find exceptionally fertile growing conditions on the plateaus of Chiapas, a state in the south-east of Mexico.
Due to the cooler climate at higher altitudes, the coffee bean takes a little longer to ripen. However, this extensive maturing process ensures the characteristically spicy and strong aroma and makes the Mexican highland coffee a unique taste experience.
Organic farming and fair trade
The Mexican coffee cultivation is characterized above all by very sustainable agriculture. The exclusion of the use of pesticides and agrochemicals, the careful handling of the plants and the purely biological control of pests – Mexico was the first country to use bees to fight pests – makes coffee cultivation a true pioneer in terms of environmental protection.
The great thing is that the processing of the coffee beans in the various production facilities is also carried out as gently as possible and largely with clean energy.
What kind of coffee bean is used in Mexican coffee?
The most widespread bean in Mexico is Arabica: It is also colloquially called mountain coffee because it is very difficult to grow at lower altitudes and the plant tends to coffee rust at higher temperatures.
The more complex maintenance, planting and harvesting are also reasons why Arabica is one of the most expensive and highest quality coffee beans in the world. In contrast to the very fast-growing Robusta, Arabica need a longer time to develop their full aroma.
Unique type of Mexican coffee bean
Mexico is particularly famous for its Maragogype bean: the cross between Arabicas and Libericas is approximately 30% larger than its related coffee beans and is known for its low acidity, a particularly tasty and mild aroma and the usually slightly lower caffeine content, which makes this bean so make popular. I
ncidentally, the best Maragogype beans in the world come from the Chiapas high plateau and are shipped from there to many specialty roasters around the world.
From the highlands into the espresso cup
Both the Arabica bean grown in Mexico and the Robusta coffee bean are perfect for the universally popular espresso: The fine crema, which is created by the high pressure of the steam, is an absolute must for coffee connoisseurs and gourmets.
A mixture of both types of beans is recommended for the perfect espresso experience. Robusta ensures the perfect crema, the Arabica is responsible for a mild but spicy aroma.
How does Mexican coffee roasting work?
The right temperature roast is essential for high-quality coffee, but is usually underestimated. With cheaper varieties, the coffee beans are shock-roasted at a very high temperature – approx. 600 – 800°C – and burn easily on the outside. The quality of the beans and thus the aroma of the coffee suffer from this type of roasting.
A gentle roasting process with a lower heat of approximately 200°C contributes significantly to the taste of the favorite drink of the Germans. After a few minutes you will hear a clear crack, because this is where the first crack in the coffee beans occurs – also called “first crack”.
The longer the roasting process lasts, the darker and more bitter the beans become and the more the fruit acid or chlorogenic acid inside the bean is broken down. The roaster is responsible for observing the perfect roasting curve depending on the type of coffee and adjusting the roasting process accordingly.
Coffee cultivation and Mexican Chiapas coffee
On the list of the largest coffee producers, Mexico is now almost among the top 10. In addition to a small part of Robusta, Arabica beans are almost exclusively grown in southern Mexico. Arabica is characterized by a mild, balanced taste and only has very fine acidity.
Mexico supplies the whole world, especially with their aromatic, Mexican Chiapas coffee from the province of the same name, right on the border with Guatemala. The tropical climate in the state of Chiapas provides ideal conditions for coffee cultivation. The Mexico SHG from Chiapas has a soft, velvety, mild character.
A few facts about Mexican coffee
- Coffee plants live an average of 50 years.
- The Maragogype is also called elephant bean or giant bean because of its enormous size!
- The “Altura” quality mark found on many Mexican coffee products describes the coffee beans that have matured at a minimum altitude of 1,500 m and the resulting extraordinarily strong aroma.
Café de Olla: Recipe for the Mexican coffee specialty
The coffee specialty in Mexico is the well-known Café de Olla, meaning”coffee from the clay pot”. The café de olla is very sweet and is traditionally made with brown sugar and cinnamon. In Mexico, coffee is a popular choice for breakfast, and in some parts of Mexico, it is still drunk from old clay cups. This gives the otherwise sweet hot drink an earthy note.
Café de Olla consists of black coffee, which is cooked with a good portion of cane sugar, also known as piloncillo, and refined with cinnamon. The pinch of cinnamon, in particular, gives the coffee its unique and sweet aroma.
Mexican coffee is a nice recipe to prepare your coffee in a different way than it is normal. Wonderfully chocolaty with a little spice.
You can also easily prepare Café de Olla yourself at home:
- 1 cinnamon stick or a dash of cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons dark roasted and coarsely ground coffee
- 75 g brown cane sugar
- 600 ml water
- Optional: cloves and a piece of orange peel
- First, bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, then dissolve the cane sugar in it.
- Add the cinnamon stick, simmer gently, stirring frequently.
- Add the coarsely ground coffee powder, stir and let steep for 5 minutes.
- Filter the coffee into cups and then carefully pour it through a fine sieve into the cups. Ready!
The Mexicans also like to add cloves, orange peel, or dark chocolate as flavor additives. You can see more details in this video:
This is how Mexicans drink their coffee.
Admittedly, Mexico doesn’t really have a coffee culture as we know from other countries. A black café americano is usually served for breakfast or a café de olla is drunk. A cappuccino or latte macchiato is usually only served in trendy cafés in the city. In rural areas, Mexicans also use instant coffee powder, which is brewed with hot water.