This past week, the Bristol Coffee Team was fortunate enough to be in Oaxaca, Mexico and while there we had to explore and find out about the coffee culture in this beautiful and historic city.
Coffee made its way to Mexico (specifically, Veracruz) at the end of the 18th century from the Antilles. There is no consensus as to the exact year or even who brought coffee to Mexico, but it is believed to have been either José Antonio Selebert or Juan Antonio Gómez de Guevara, Count of Oñate. Three centuries later, the coffee grown in Mexico predominantly comes from three regions - Veracruz, Chiapas, and Oaxaca – and has become a part of Mexican culture, as it is enjoyed throughout the day. The most popular is Café de Olla - coffee served in clay pots (which are said to be as essential to the flavor of the coffee as the coffee beans themselves) and spiced and sweetened with cinnamon sticks and piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar).
The region of Oaxaca has, with the help of INMECAFE (Instituto Mexicano del Cafe), become quite adept at producing excellent shade-grown mountain coffee beans and, once that skill was mastered, a new and more refined European-style coffee culture emerged. You will find no Starbucks in Oaxaca; instead, the city has seen the introduction of several small coffee shops that serve their small batch artisanal roasts of Oaxacan or other Mexican coffee beans.
While in Oaxaca, we were surprised to see such a large number of artisanal coffee shops, all teeming with life. It is said that this culture grew from Oaxaqueños’ love of socializing and the concept of ‘sobre mesa’ - after dinner chats. As having a coffee culture basically means getting together with family or friends on a regular basis over a cup of coffee, Oaxaqueños have made sure that that cup of coffee is a good one.
See the photos below for just a few of the shops we visited while in Oaxaca, each of which take pride in serving sustainable, delicious Oaxacan or Mexican coffee with their own unique roasts.
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And remember, even if you can’t go to Oaxaca, you can always find good coffee at www.bristolnicaragua.com. So go buy some Bristol, why don’t you?