This week, we're shining the spotlight on an organic coffee from Chiapas, one of our favorite growing regions in Mexico, Organic Mexico El Triunfo.
The Sierra Madres de Chiapas is a mountain range on the border between the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala and the rest of Mexico. It's no wonder the coffee grown in those mountains is similar to our favorite Guatemalans. Both areas share a similar altitude, with farms ranging from just under 4000 to 6000 feet above sea level. The temperature, levels of rainfall, and type of soil are all very similar, leading to coffees that share a similar flavor profile, buttery rich and sweet, often with a lingering cocoa finish.
Organic Mexico El Triunfo is produced by the Triunfo Verde Co-op, a group of 346 farmers who grow coffee in the buffer zone of the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve. El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve is one of the world’s most diverse forest reserves. The reserve contains the Mountain Mesofile Forest, Mesoamerica’s largest continuous cloud forest, and serves as a refuge to thousands of plant and animal species, including 588 species of butterflies and 381 bird species. One of the world's most beautiful and endangered birds, the Resplendent Quetzal, depends on the Mesofile Forest to survive and reproduce.
The brilliantly colored Resplendent Quetzal was sacred to both the Aztec and Mayan peoples. The iridescent plumage and the long (3 feet) upper-tail feathers in the males created a link in their minds between the bird and the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl (literally meaning “Feathered snake”). When a male quetzal flies, its long green tail bounces in the air and resembles a bouncing snake. In pre-Hispanic times, the hunting of Quetzals was punished by death.
The members of the El Triunfo Verde help protect the Resplendent Quetzal and other species by extending the rainforest beyond the reserve. All the coffee they grow is shade grown, with tall fruit and nut trees providing a canopy layer over the coffee bushes and ground level crops, like melons or squash. This creates biological corridors that facilitate bird and animal migration. It also helps to protect the Biosphere Reserve from outside encroachment.
The shade helps the farmers grown high quality coffee beans, but I like to think the brightly colored birds and butterflies flitting in the shadows around coffee bushes help, too.
Whatever the reason, this year's Organic Mexico El Triunfo is truly lovely. At a light, City, roast level, it brews into a smooth, silky coffee with soft, gentle topnotes and praline sweetness balanced by pecan and almond richness and a lingering cocoa finish. Darker roast levels will brew into an even sweeter, richer cup. Feel free to take Organic Mexico El Triunfo as dark as you dare, the high grown beans can take the heat!
Do you enjoy coffee from Mexico? Have you ever traveled to the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve and seen a Resplendent Quetzal? If so, we'd love to hear from you. You can share your thoughts on the Facebook thread or in a comment on this blog. Or, if you'd like to share your opinion with the wider world, leave us a coffee review on Google or on your favorite review site. Not only do we value your opinions, but reviews help more people find us. Help us connect coffee lovers to fresh, quality coffee!
~ Carrie, Paul and all of us at Coffee by the Roast
*For more information about the El Triunfo Biosphere, click here
*To learn more about the Resplendent Quetzal, click here
or to see a video that shows off its long, snake-like tail feathers, click here