Mexico, the land of burritos and tequila, is usually not one of the countries that come to mind when you mention coffee.
Despite this notion, Mexico is the world’s 8th biggest producer of coffee with over 252,000 metric tonnes produced in 2009.
What’s is Mexican coffee like? What are some of the best Mexican coffee brands? And how do they drink coffee in Mexico?
We will tell you everything you need to know about Mexican coffee as well as introduce the best ones we could find so you can try them yourself.
Quick Summary: Best Mexican Coffee Brands
|Volcanica Mexican Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
|Fresh Roasted Coffee, Organic Chiapas||Check on Amazon →|
|Anthony's Organics Whole Bean Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
|Lacas Coffee Company Organic Mexican Dark Roast||Check on Amazon →|
|Dancing Moon Dark Roast Mexican Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
|Wild Coffee, Austin Fresh Roasted||Check on Amazon →|
|Los Portales Mexican Gourmet Coffee||Check on Amazon →|
|Groundwork Organic Whole Bean Light Roast||Check on Amazon →|
|Oakland Guapa Chiapas Coffee Works||Check on Amazon →|
Coffee History And Production
The coffee was first brought to Veracruz, a state in Mexico, at the end of the 18th century from Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The production remained insignificant until Italian and German immigrants who lived in Guatemala moved to Mexico and brought the commercial production of coffee. By the end of the 19th century, coffee was introduced to Chiapas, which is the main coffee producing region now.
In the late 20th century, the coffee spread to over 12 states and the land used for coffee production approached 500,000 hectares. By then, coffee was one of the most significant exports of the national economy.
It wasn’t an easy journey for coffee production in Mexico. Between 1989 and 1995, it declined by 6.6%, and the coffee producers were estimated to have lost 65% of their income during the crisis. The lack of money resulted in a decline in the quality and maintenance of coffee plantations and in 2005, the country reported the lowest exported shipment of coffee in the past three decades.
The crisis was caused by the collapse of The International Coffee Agreement in 1962, which was responsible for maintaining coffee export, monitor the market as well as the prices. After it fell apart, the coffee was overproduced and the prices kept falling. This crisis created significant economic and social problems and while the coffee exports have been recovering, they still haven’t reached the previous numbers.
What Does It Taste Like?
Typical coffee from Mexico is often compared to good light white wine with a delicate body and crisp and dry acidity. Mexican specialty coffees are for those who prefer a lighter and bright cup rather than a dark roast. Because the coffee has been initially imported from Guatemala and the proximity of this country to the Mexican border, the coffee beans from Mexico taste similar to those from Guatemala.
Most of the Mexican coffee is certified organic and grown without the use of pesticides or any harmful chemicals. The coffee is known to be quite mellow, which is why it is often used for flavored coffee blends. Even though the coffee beans are usually roasted dark, they tend to be good at retaining their flavor profile.
The mellow and smooth taste comes with a light delicate body. The most common tasting notes of the coffee beans are nuts and chocolate, with caramel and brown sugar sweetness. It comes with high-grown power and complexity similar to Guatemalan coffee and the light body is accompanied by a dry and crisp acidity, making it a great choice for a specialty cup brewed by a pour-over method that brings out the elegant tasting notes.
Main Growing Regions
The best coffee growing regions are located in the south of Mexico. This is because this area has the most favorable climate for coffee production including the higher elevations and fertile soils. These are the best coffee growing regions in Mexico.
This is the most popular coffee-growing region. It is located in the southern part of the country, on the border with Guatemala, which means the climatic conditions are similar. The Mexican Chiapas coffee is known to have a light body, nutty flavor notes, and crisp acidity.
This coffee region is located in the west of Chiapas, also at the southern end of the country. It is characterized by mountainous slopes that provide a higher elevation and a long coast that completes the ideal growing conditions.
Located just north of these two regions, this is the part of the country where the coffee beans were first brought to in the 18th century and while nowadays there is more coffee produced in Chiapas and Oaxaca, it remains a significant coffee region.
The Best Mexican Coffee Brands
Volcanica Mexican Coffee, Whole Bean
Volcanica is a trusted brand that is committed to bringing you freshly roasted coffee from the finest exotic coffee regions. It is typically grown at high altitude and volcanic soils, conditions that are greatly responsible for its remarkable taste.
This coffee from Mexico is organic and you can rely on Volcanica to make sure the high-quality coffee beans are freshly and expertly roasted.
To maintain its delicate and unique flavor profile, the coffee is roasted medium, which brings out a clean and well-balanced taste, medium acidity, and a sweet but smooth body. This brew has a noticeable flavor of roasted hazelnuts.
Fresh Roasted Coffee Mexican Chiapas, Whole Bean
Another one of the well-established coffee brands that sources the best coffee from the unique single-origin regions is Fresh Roasted Coffee. The coffee beans come from the most popular Mexican region, Chiapas, specifically from Tapachula. Located on the Guatemalan border, the coffee has similar characteristics, is mild-bodied but high grown and the highest quality.
A cup of this Mexican Chiapas from Fresh Roasted Coffee is mild but flavorful with the notes of brown sugar, cashew, and pear. You can expect medium acidity, significant sweetness but no bitterness.
The company is dedicated to sourcing the best coffee but also supporting the coffee regions and reinforcing sustainability, taking care of the farmers who are responsible for the production. In Mexico, coffee is wet-processed and sun-dried, while then it is roasted, blended and packaged in the USA, ensuring the best freshness that these beans deserve.
Anthony’s Organic Whole Bean Coffee, Mexican Altura
Mexican coffee beans from Anthony’s are arabica Altura beans that are grown in high altitudes, typically at 4,000-4,500 feet above sea level, in rich volcanic soils. These conditions cause them to mature slower and thus become denser, which enriches their flavor.
The deep medium roast helps to showcase the interesting nutty overtones together with light acidity and a balanced body. The coffee is also USDA certified organic and roasted in small batches to preserve the delicate flavors and ensure the highest quality.
Lacas Coffee Company Mexican Dark Chiapas Coffee, Whole Bean
Lacas coffee company sources the beans from the most popular region in Mexico, Chiapas. They roast the coffee dark but the deep profile is reached while maintaining rich flavor and a clean finish. The main tasting notes in the medium body are dark chocolate and black cherry.
Certified organic and Fair Trade, the coffee comes as a whole bean in small bags that ensure the supreme freshness of your cup.
Dancing Moon Dark Roast, Mexican Chiapas, Whole Bean
Another dark roast from Mexican Chiapas, this coffee surprises as well and despite the dark roast profile, there is no bitterness and the flavor is as delicate as a medium roast. With a smooth and syrupy body, there are nutty overtones typical for Mexican coffee as well as crisp acidity. These characteristics make this coffee strong enough to be used for espresso brewing as well as delicate enough for a pour-over.
The coffee is grown organically and it is environmentally responsible. Shade-grown in the high altitude of 4,000-4,500 feet above sea level in the Sierra Madre Mountains, the coffee is fully flavored and dense.
Wild Foods Coffee, Mexico Dark Roast, Whole Bean Organic
This coffee is also sourced from the Chiapas region in Mexico and grown at high altitude in clay mineral soil which is then manifested by nutty, caramel, and chocolate tasting notes in the cup. The wet-processed beans are then roasted in Austin, Texas, to ensure their freshness.
It is ethically sourced and the company ensures that the farmers in Mexico are being taken care of as well as improving their living conditions.
It is also known to be high-performance coffee that blends well with MTC oil or butter to create supercharged bulletproof coffee. Other than that it is suitable for any brewing method including your French press or a cold brew.
Los Portales Mexican Gourmet Coffee
The coffee from Los Portales is selected from different plantations in all of the most famous coffee regions including Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Chiapas. It is also grown at a high elevation of 2,600-3,200 feet above sea level.
The medium roast is mellow but still complex. The most prominent tasting notes include chocolate, caramel, and toasted grain. The cup is accompanied by pleasant mild acidity.
Groundwork Mexico Whole Bean Coffee, Light Roast
Groundwork is also one of the brands that focus on building relationships with the growers and communities in Mexico. The direct trade with the farmers ensures that the quality of the coffee rewards the communities that are responsible for growing it. The sustainably grown whole bean coffee is then freshly roasted in Southern California.
This is a light roast that is definitely meant to be drunk black to experience the delicate flavor profile. The prominent tasting notes include milk chocolate, almond, apple, and sugar cane sweetness.
Oakland Coffee Works Guapa Chiapas, Whole Bean
This coffee is sourced from small farms and handpicked by farmers in the agriculturally rich Chiapas to ensure the highest quality of the coffee beans. Oakland coffee makes sure that the coffee is sustainable for the environment as well as the farming community in Mexico. They are actively engaged in enhancement projects that support the communities where the coffee is sourced from. Another bonus for sustainability is a completely compostable bag.
The resulting brew is bold with enough deep, rounded, and particular flavor. Perfect roasting also contributes to the fact that this Mexican coffee is rich but not bitter or overly acidic, with prominent earthy notes.
Coffee, The Mexican Way
The country with a rich array of flavors in their cuisine does not only produce good coffee but has a specific way of consuming it too. Even though most of the best Mexican coffee brands that we’ve shown you today are delicate and good enough to be enjoyed black, this is not how Mexicans drink their caffeine hit.
With a unique cuisine full of spices, the way Mexicans prepare their coffee might not be a surprise. Traditionally, they add brown sugar or piloncillo, which is an unrefined sugar cane, to add sweetness to their coffee. In addition to the sweetness, they add in a cinnamon stick and an orange peel when steeping the coffee to add the extra flavor, citrusy complexity, and spice to their cup.
Sometimes Tequila, Sometimes Coffee
Coffee is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Mexico, the land of tequila, nachos, and soft tortillas. Nevertheless, it is the 8th biggest coffee producer in the world.
Bordering with coffee-famous Guatemala in the south of the country, it’s where the regions with the best climatic conditions for coffee production are located. And indeed the mountainous terrain with a high elevation and rich mineral soils in Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Veracruz breed some delicious coffee beans.
Mexican coffee typically has chocolate and nutty tasting notes with a light body, delicious sweetness, and crisp acidity and tends to retain these flavors even when the coffee beans are roasted dark. This makes it an excellent choice for most of the brewing methods, even the more delicate ones.
This is not how Mexicans traditionally drink their coffee though. To experience the authentic flavor, they add sugar cane, cinnamon, and orange peel to their brewing process.