A Sipper’s Guide to Discovering Mexican Coffee

Mexican brewed coffee beans

When you think of Mexican cuisine, you may picture a flavorful taco or spicy guacamole. But Mexico is one of the world’s largest producers of coffee. In 2016, the country produced over 234,000 metric tons of coffee beans.

How does Mexican coffee compare to other varieties? Depending on its region, Mexican coffee beans create some of the smoothest cups of coffee you’ll ever taste.

From its origins to tasty recipes, let’s explore everything there is to know about Mexican coffee.

The Origins of Mexican Coffee

Mexico began growing some of the highest quality coffee beans in the world during the 18th Century. The crop can be found across 16 Mexican states, although most of it grows in southern Mexico.

When European settlers migrated to Mexico in the late 1700s, they bought sprawling farms where coffee beans could be harvested. Europeans hired Mexican laborers to cultivate the beans and turn them into delicious coffee that would get shipped back to Europe.

Fast forward to 1973, when Mexico’s government started INMECAFE, the National Coffee Institute of Mexico.

The program funded rural farmers to support the country’s demand for coffee. It provided them with equipment, transportation, and credit so farmers could sell their coffee on the international market. Thanks to INMECAFE, Mexican coffee production increased by 900% between 1973 and 1990.

Unfortunately, during the 1980s, the Mexican government over-borrowed and defaulted on its loans. This led to the collapse of INMECAFE in 1989, and coffee production dropped to less than $370 million by 1991.

Cooperative groups formed over the years to replace INMECAFE and continue boosting Mexican’s organic coffee farms.

Today, forecasts suggest coffee exports for Mexico are expected to grow at 3.3 million 60/kg bags during the next year. The United States is currently the biggest importer of Mexican coffee.

Types of Mexican Coffee

Mexican coffee brands are known for being light-bodied and nutty in flavor. The beans create fine and delicate coffee, and many are considered gourmet. Some beans are so dry and acidic they are comparable to white wine.

Chiapas Coffee

Chiapas is one of Mexico’s southern states. It was the first region to cultivate coffee beans and continues to be the country’s leader in coffee exports. It produces 40% of the country’s total coffee.

The climate is hot and tropical, making it ideal for growing beans. Surrounding volcanoes produce fertile and nutrient-rich soil for the crops to thrive.

The coffee beans grown in Chiapas are round and have a lasting body. They feature notes of nuts, citrus, lemons, and chocolate.

Chiapas also produces Café de Altura beans. “Altura” translates to “heights,” which makes sense since the beans thrive at an altitude of 3,000 to 4,000 feet.

The beans create a smooth and nutty drink. There are often flavors of hazelnut in the coffee. The beverage is smooth with mild acidity and a well-balanced body.

Veracruz Coffee

Veracruz is located on the gulf side of Mexico. It has lowland regions that produce average-tasting coffee beans.

But in its highland region, Veracruz produces highly-sought-after Mexican Altura Coatepec beans.

These crops create medium-bodied coffee with moderate acidity. They have rich aromas and deliver a mouthful of flavor. The beans have floral notes, nutty flavors, and a smooth finish.

All the Ways to Enjoy Mexican Coffee

Since most Mexican coffees are rich in chocolate and nutty aromas, they can be easily turned into delicious drinks. Go a step further and spike the coffee with a splash of Mexican liquor, and you’ve got yourself a delectable coffee-based cocktail.

Traditional Mexican Coffee

A traditional Mexican coffee recipe incorporates sweet flavors that complement the light-bodied beans.

To create this mouthwatering beverage, you need:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of Mexican coffee grounds (decaf is okay)
  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of chocolate syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream (for garnish)

Brew your coffee by adding the grounds, cinnamon, and water to your coffee pot. While the coffee brews, combine the heavy cream, brown sugar, and chocolate syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat.

Remove from the stove and whisk in vanilla extract. Pour in the brewed coffee and mix. Serve in a coffee mug and top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.

Iced Horchata Latte

Mexican coffee is delicious all-year-round. For the warm summer nights, serve your customers a refreshing iced horchata latte.

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 4 shots of Mexican espresso
  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice
  • 1/2 cup of raw almonds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 teaspoons of maple syrup (use less for less sweetness)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Combine the rice, almonds, cinnamon sticks, and two cups of water in a large jar. Let them sit for at least eight hours, although 24 is ideal.

Add the mixture with the remaining two cups of water to a mixing bowl. Mix on high with a high-speed blender for about two minutes. Strain the mixture, then add the maple syrup and vanilla extract.

Fill a glass with ice and pour in one cup of the horchata mixture. Top off with the espresso. Finish with whipped cream for some extra sweetness.

Spiked Mexican Coffee

Spiked Mexican coffee is the tastiest way to end a delicious dinner. To create this coffee cocktail, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup brewed Mexican coffee
  • 1 shot of Kahlua
  • 1/2 shot of tequila
  • 2 tablespoons of whipped cream

Mix Kahlua and tequila in a coffee mug. Add the hot coffee. Top with whipped cream, and voilà! You’ve just whipped up an easy coffee cocktail with vibrant Mexican flavors.

Upgrade Your Coffee

Mexican coffee is popular thanks to its smooth flavors and natural aromas. Whether you’re serving it black or as a flavorful iced latte, there’s no wrong way to indulge in Mexican coffee.

Continue learning about the finest coffees from around the world. From Bolivia to Brazil, we’re your go-to suppliers for high-quality coffee. Start exploring our collection of coffee beans here.

Common Questions

How does the flavor profile of Mexican coffee differ from other popular coffee varieties?

Mexican coffee stands out from other popular coffee varieties due to its distinct flavor profile. Generally known for being light-bodied and nutty, Mexican coffee beans produce a smooth and delicate cup. The flavors often include rich notes of chocolate and nuts, with some beans being dry and acidic, comparable to white wine. Depending on the region where they are grown, such as Chiapas or Veracruz, the beans can also carry citrus, floral, and hazelnut undertones. These unique characteristics set Mexican coffee apart, making it a favorite for those who appreciate a well-balanced and flavorful coffee experience.

What are the key characteristics of Chiapas and Veracruz coffee beans, and how do they contribute to the overall flavor?

Chiapas and Veracruz coffee beans are two notable types of Mexican coffee, each offering unique characteristics that contribute to their distinct flavors. Chiapas coffee, grown in the southern region of Mexico, is renowned for its round beans with lasting body and complex flavor profile. The beans from this region are often enriched by the nutrient-rich soil from surrounding volcanoes, resulting in notes of nuts, citrus, lemons, and chocolate. Chiapas also produces Café de Altura beans, which thrive at high altitudes and are known for their smooth, nutty drink with mild acidity and a well-balanced body. On the other hand, Veracruz coffee is grown in both lowland and highland regions, with the latter producing the sought-after Mexican Altura Coatepec beans. These highland beans offer medium-bodied coffee with moderate acidity, rich aromas, and flavors that include floral and nutty notes with a smooth finish. The unique growing conditions and altitudes of these regions significantly influence the beans’ characteristics, making Chiapas and Veracruz coffee highly esteemed among coffee enthusiasts.

What are some traditional and unique ways to prepare and enjoy Mexican coffee at home?

There are several traditional and unique ways to prepare and enjoy Mexican coffee at home, each highlighting the rich, smooth flavors characteristic of Mexican beans. One popular method is brewing traditional Mexican coffee, which incorporates sweet and spicy elements by adding ground cinnamon, chocolate syrup, and vanilla extract to the coffee grounds. This mixture is brewed and then blended with a simmered combination of heavy cream and brown sugar, creating a rich, aromatic beverage topped with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. For a refreshing option, an iced horchata latte combines Mexican espresso with a homemade horchata mixture of rice, almonds, and cinnamon, sweetened with maple syrup and vanilla. This drink is served over ice, making it perfect for warm weather. Another delightful way to enjoy Mexican coffee is by preparing a spiked Mexican coffee cocktail. This involves mixing brewed Mexican coffee with Kahlua and tequila, topped with whipped cream for a decadent after-dinner treat. Each of these methods showcases the versatility and depth of Mexican coffee, allowing coffee lovers to explore and savor its unique flavors in different forms.

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