A TASTE OF MICHOACAN’S COFFEE HISTORY
Coffee arrived for the first time to Mexico back in 1790 , first in Cordoba (Veracruz) brought across the Caribbean Sea from Cuba. Then, some other shrubs came from Guatemala to Chiapas and so, coffee started to spread across the Mexican territory. All but Michoacán’s crops, this coffee possesses a unique story.
So, sometime around 1809 the General Mariano Michelena of the Mexican Army, who by the way, not only was the first Mexican Ambassador to England, but also was a key member from the historic Mexican Insurgent Movement (notorious coffee fanatics themselves).
General Michelena had grown a taste for coffee, so he did not miss the chance, during a trip to the holy lands of the Middle East, he bought coffee seedlings from the Port of Mokha that he planted in his hacienda, “La Parota” in Urecho Valley, guess where… Michoacán.
Later, Manuel Farias arrived to Uruapan with the first coffee plants around 400 shrubs, most of them died, but a couple dozens survived and thrived in the land, thanks to the volcanic rich soil of the state. Some years later Uruapan had farms that yield a production that was not only growing in volume but in quality and fame, tasted for the likes of William Bullock and José Martí.
Sadly, this exceptional coffee has been also a collateral victim of Mexican crime and economic crisis, with many producers opting for using their lands for growing avocado and/or being pushed out of their homes by the narco and violence.
Still, even if the coffee crops are now less they’re greatly appreciated, some of this avocado crops are now in a symbiotic relation with the coffee, providing a good shade for the coffee to grow. In Tacámbaro we find Javier Jimenez Segundo’s Finca El Pantano, where they grow in altitudes ranging from 1450 up to 2100 masl. They are not only a sustainable specialty coffee grower, but their compromise with the bean goes beyond borders, both figuratively and literal. They’re hands on in the coffee processing, not only learning but mastering and trying experimental new processes in order to get the most of their coffee’s profiles.
Coa Coffee’s October 2020 selection comes from Finca El Pantano, a hydro natural experimental process with a high altitude typical and bourbon beans (2100 masl).
Breve Historia del Café en Michoacán
Gerardo Sanchez Díaz – 2006 UMSNH
Café de Uruapan (opinion, La Jornada, aug 2007)
Cristina Barrios, Marco Buenrostro