January 12, 2024
For this month’s, coffee origin feature, we are going to Mexico, the 12th largest country as well as the largest Spanish speaking country in the world. Located in the southern portion of North America, Mexico has a multitude of geographic and climatic conditions spread over 760,000 square miles. The sheer size of the country and the diversity of biomes has allowed Mexico to develop a robust agricultural industry.
Even though coffee is a small portion of the country’s agricultural exports, Mexico still produces over 2% of the worldwide coffee supply. Although coffee is produced in 14 of Mexico’s 32 states, most of the country’s production is centralized in 3 states, Chiapas, Veracruz, and Puebla. Each of these 3 states are located in the southern portion of Mexico where there are mountain ranges and tropical climates that are ideal for arabica coffee production.
Coffee production in Mexico began in the late 18th century and for many years, coffee was produced with modest commercial success. It wasn’t until the mid-18th century that the country began to export coffee to other countries. Coffee was produced both on large plantations and on small holder plots, however, the latter was often more successful as the larger industrial farms struggled to make a sufficient profit. To grow the Mexican coffee industry, the Mexican government set up INMECAFE, an organization that was tasked with supporting farmers and stabilizing coffee prices. This marked a period of expansion in coffee cultivation until INMECAFE was shut down in 1989. The loss of wide-spread price control was devastating for farmers, leading to many years of decline in production and profits. After the loss of INMECAFE, the Mexican coffee industry moved to a model that focuses on cooperatives and growing certified coffee, leading to a revitalization in the country’s coffee industry. Despite its tumultuous coffee producing history, in 2023, Mexico became the 10th largest coffee producing country, demonstrating the resiliency of the 500,000+ Mexican coffee farmers who provide delicious coffee to consumers and companies like Westrock Coffee year after year.
Not only do we buy Mexican coffee, but at Westrock Coffee we also collaborate with 600 farmers through our farmer capacity-building program Raíz Sustainability® (Raíz). Through Raíz, Westrock Coffee evaluates the needs of farmers in order to provide the best training programs and collaborative investments. Based on baseline assessments conducted, Raíz focused all efforts on helping Mexican farmers improve their overall production and yields with technical assistance, input support and a huge effort renovating over 1.5 million coffee trees. Due to the hard work of the farmers and field teams in Mexico, the average yield per hectare has increased by over 40% in 5 years. This means more coffee for coffee lovers as well as higher profits and more sustainable farms for Mexican farmers.
At Westrock Coffee we love Mexican coffee for its light body and acidity as well as its nutty, chocolatey flavor. Next time you savor a cup of Mexican coffee look for notes of chocolate and hazelnut, and try pairing it with a sweet Mexican bread for a delicious start to your day.
- Choosing a selection results in a full page refresh.