Every year Foxen has dedicated a portion of our time and resources to visiting the farmers who produce the coffees we roast. This year, we went to Mexico. Our goal for making these connections is to create strong partnerships within our supply chain that encourage good ethics, a quality product, and sustainable practices in our coffees.
This trip was a huge success – everything that we were looking for was what we wanted to see. So, let’s get into it – what does coffee production look like in the regions of Mexico that we source raw coffees from?
It looks like Community.
We source from small, family-owned farmers around the Zongolica, Chiapas, and Monte Blanco regions of Southern Mexico. I visited 6 farms on this trip and met the producers on all of them. One of the most inspiring aspects of the visit was how enthusiastic they were to see us – we’re both far disconnected from each side of the supply chain, so it’s hard to know what’s happening on either side until you see it for yourself. The farmers don’t know how their product is being perceived by the consumer, and we don’t get to see how hard they’re working to create the exceptional product that we enjoy. This visit was a key resolution to that fact.
A commitment to quality.
Since we only source specialty grade coffees, it means most of the farms are on small lots of land, hand picked and cultivated by individual families, and often processed at nearby mills or even their personal homes. Since they’re not a large-scale commercial operation, they typically don’t have the funds to grow on flat land (this is the most expensive type of farmland and is mostly owned by mass-produced commercial operations). This circumstance turns out to be a blessing in disguise - because although it does require a huge workload for them to hand-pick the coffee fruits from uneven, and often very steep mountain sides. It also means their coffee plants are growing at very high altitudes, which results in a higher quality coffee. Higher altitudes slow the ripening process and allow the fruit to develop more complex acids and sugars during the process. Resulting in a flavorful and complex cup of coffee.
One of the most interesting parts of this trip was seeing how these producers sustain their crops. Everything is organically grown, they don’t use pesticides, and they re-use fermented coffee fruits to fertilize the land. They grow plantains and other trees around the farm to create areas of shade where the bird’s nest, the birds eat the bugs that are attracted to the crops, and the snakes eat the rodents that are attracted to the fruits. They create a sustainable ecosystem within their farm that mimics organic nature. It’s truly incredible and it’s exactly what we wanted to see.
Our exporters also assist the farmers by teaching them more about the coffee tree, they show them how to improve the quality of their yield and therefore earn more money from their land. If you’d like to learn more about that program, check it out here: https://nkgbloom.coffee/mexico/
Every single producer that we met was extremely passionate about coffee. This crop is not only their family’s livelihood, but it’s the glue that brings their whole village together. These places live and thrive on coffee, and they know if they produce an exceptional product, we will prefer it over a mass-produced seed that lacks the complexity and flavor that specialty coffee brings to the table. This coffee is everything to them, and it means everything to us. We love and support their work and appreciate their hospitality. They let us into their homes, made us food, sang us songs, and toured their facilities. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to go back.
If you’re looking for a coffee that brings complexity and exquisite flavor to your morning routine, while knowing you’re supporting small families and villages deep in the Mexico Countryside, this is how you do it. We get it from the source, and we roast these wonderful coffees fresh in the United States with more than 30 years’ experience in the practice. This is our Muse. This is Specialty Coffee at its best.
-Nicolas Milone, Co-Founder, Foxen Coffee.