Coffee grower, creator of the drink that awakens Mexico
By NÔMADE CINEMA
Reading Time: 7 minutes
Coffee is a strategic crop in Mexico; its production employs more than 500,000 producers from 15 states and 480 municipalities; currently the per capita consumption of coffee in the country is 1,600 kilograms per year, according to the Federal Consumer Attorney’s Office (PROFECO) 85% of Mexicans drink from one to three cups a day and men consume more, 3 cups versus two cups for women. Within the territory, excellent quality coffees are produced, since the topography, altitude, climates and soils allow it to grow varieties classified among the best in the world.
The production in Mexico of its coffee trees represents 2.4% of the world total. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SAGARPA)
Mexico is considered one of the main organic coffee producing countries in the world, allocating 3.24% of the total cultivated area of this product for this variety, and exports 28,000 tons (mainly to the European Union), in addition to having a large diversity of producers, including men and women, indigenous communities, those who dedicate themselves to specialty coffee, large, small and in transition.
Of the 15 coffee-producing states; In the south of the country, Chiapas is the main producing state, contributing 41.0% of the national volume, followed by Veracruz (24.0%) and Puebla (15.3%). The latter, in recent years, has reached third place in the list of national production of coffee, with the most productive municipalities being:
- Xicotepec with 15 thousand 860 tons,
- Zihuateutla 12 thousand 320 tons,
- Hueytamalco 9 thousand 600 tons,
- Tlacuilotepec 8 thousand 960 tons,
- Jalpan 8 thousand 525 tons,
- Cuetzalan del Progreso 6 thousand 582 tons,
- Tlaxco 6 thousand 300 tons and
- Jopala 6 thousand tons.
The variety of coffee that is produced mostly in the state of Puebla is “arábica”, classified within the group of “mild coffees”, where species such as:
- Criollo: descendant of the original African family, it is the variety that best adapted to Mexican soil.
- Bourbón: variety highly appreciated for being resistant to winds, adaptable to different types of environmental conditions, mostly from Chiapas.
- Caturra: mutation of Bourbon plants, with a pleasant flavor of slightly lower quality than Creole.
- Catimor: cross between Caturra and Timor, short and resistant in adverse conditions, with higher yield and more productivity.
- Robusta: coffee tree that produces a strong-tasting coffee due to its greater caffeine content.
The Sierra Norte de Puebla region, due to its topography, hydrography, altitude, climates and soils, have allowed cultivating and producing varieties classified among the best in the world. Mexican Association of Coffees and Specialty Coffee Shops (AMCCE)
The climate that predominates in the Sierra Norte de Puebla is humid semi-warm, with an average temperature between 18°C and 24°C, with abundant rainfall throughout the year. Due to these fruitful conditions, this area produces “prima washed” coffees (its flavor and aroma are pleasant, good acidity and good body) grown at medium heights that offer smooth flavors and pleasant aromas.
Cuetzalan, is the Magical Town that inhabits forests with fog, coffee plantations, waterfalls, caves, grottos and giant ferns; there where the birds begin their song and the very meaning of its name associates it with the divine mythical bird of pre-Hispanic cultures: the quetzal. The original name was “Quetzalan”, a place of abundance of quetzals or a bunch of red feathers with blue tips on two teeth. It was founded by the Totonacs in 200 B.C.
Its population is made up of Totonac and Nahua indigenous people who manifest their culture through various rituals such as “Los Voladores”, a dance associated with fertility and Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO since 2009. Located at an altitude of 930 meters, it has a subtropical climate, semi-humid and with rain all year round. With cobbled streets and white buildings that in the morning are covered in fog as if covered by a thick white carpet. While the rays of the sun wake up among its streets, the women move their skirts as they pass and the mist slowly turns into the smell of coffee.
Fifteen minutes from Cuetzalan, is the Reserva Azul, a Coffee Farm that has been transformed for the enjoyment of nature with safety and comfort, it has eleven hectares that translate into a large ecological conservation area of cloud forest, plantations of organic coffee, cabins and stilt houses, and close to natural attractions such as caves, waterfalls and trails.
Luis Enrique Hernández comments that the first coffee trees on the farm were planted between 1860 and 1870 by Jesús Flores, motivated by the excellent conditions for their cultivation. For years, the coffee plantations were developed by the profound knowledge of the Nahua culture that was in charge of incorporating them into the landscape, turning them into a polyculture where it is possible to find citrus, bananas, pepper, cinnamon and many other useful plants for the communities.
In this coffee farm, the coffee production process is enriched, taking care of harmony with nature, preserving artisan practices in its production, processing and roasting to achieve a cup with flavor and aroma for demanding palates. Blue Reserve
The coffee plant is called coffee tree and belongs to the rubiaceae family, the botanical genus is called “coffea” and from there it takes its last name according to the species: “arábigo” or “robusto”; The difference between the two is that the robusto supports higher temperatures, which allows its cultivation at lower altitudes, while the arabic is more vulnerable to pests and requires heights of more than 700 meters above sea level, it also needs shade for its development, therefore that their plantations, interspersed with different trees, become particular ecosystems. However, the fundamental difference is found in the flavor, the Arabica is softer and more aromatic while the Robusto is stronger and bitter.
The Fernández family produces Arabica, garnica and caturra coffee grown at 1000 meters above sea level, which provides the climatic conditions for an excellent quality product. To obtain a cup of aromatic coffee in the Reserva Azul, several stages are required: from March to October the harvest is carried out, which is also known as “panaleo” or “cut”, where the cherry coffee is cut by hand and then transported in bags to the wet mills (a process that continues after harvesting, it is carried out by using water. It includes pulping, fermentation and washing) where the beans go through a laborious selection process since the green beans are eliminated and those that have been damaged by insects or by nature.
The pulping allows to separate the pulp through special machines to obtain the grain without damaging it. The pulped beans enter tanks for fermentation, a process used to separate the “mucilage” (myelous substance that covers the recently pulped bean) and again, the coffee is washed with clean water. Once washed, the dry benefit begins, the coffee is spread out for drying, this process is carried out in solar dryers or indoors so that the coffee does not have direct contact with the sun’s rays. During that time, it is stirred so that the drying is uniform, the dry grain is known as “parchment coffee” (grain covered by husk); then, a manual selection process is carried out to have the best quality.
Once selected, the coffee is taken to the hopper of the peeler for its retrieval, which by means of friction separates a second shell that covers each bean, it is passed through a polisher where the bean passes through a high volume of air, which it helps to separate the husk residues and the remaining grain is known as “golden coffee” and is ready for roasting. This process is where the aroma and typical taste of coffee develops.
Each kind of grain has an optimal time and type of roasting, whose variations alter the final flavor. The roasting of the different coffees must necessarily be done separately, following a differentiated roasting process, since each coffee has its optimal roasting point. We can distinguish three different roasts:
- Light: delicate flavor.
- Medium: strong flavor.
- Complete: eliminates acidity and confers a bitter taste.
Once the coffee is roasted, the grain is ground to different grain sizes, depending on the type of coffee maker used to prepare the drink. The three commercial grind grades are: coarse, medium, and fine. A coarse grind is recommended for percolator coffee makers, a medium grind for filter coffee makers, and a fine grind for preparing espresso coffee. Although, let’s not forget that, in Mexico, we don’t necessarily use a coffee maker, we can also enjoy a delicious coffee by boiling it in a clay pot, pewter (an alloy of zinc, lead and tin used to make objects for domestic use) or any other material , adding a little cinnamon stick.
This is how one of the most beautiful family traditions in Mexico is forged around a steaming cup of aromatic coffee, which arrived in our country in 1740. During the 18th century, its cultivation expanded from the Antilles to Central and South America. The route followed to our country by those first Arabic plants, coming from Martinique, passed through Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, continued on to Cuba, to later cross the Caribbean Sea and reach the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
He entered Mexico in 1808 brought from Havana Cuba by Captain Don José Arias who lived in Coatepec. Its cultivation spread throughout the region of Coatepec, Xalapa, Huatusco and Córdoba, forming the Veracruz coffee basin, from where it spread to the entire state and later expanded to the center and south of the country. This made entities such as Puebla, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí and Guerrero become authentic coffee regions.
In the context of markets, of the total Mexican coffee exports, 53.85% are destined for the United States; the remaining volume, to member countries of the European Union bloc and others such as Japan, Cuba and Canada. In 2016, the main destinations for exports from Mexico were member countries of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), countries of the Pacific Rim, as well as China and the European Union.
Calle Principal Cuitchat
Cuetzalan del Progreso, Puebla C.P. 73560
Telephone: +52 (233) 112 61 07