By: Carlos Dragonné
I went to breakfast with a friend a couple of days ago and something happened that, actually, happens all the time. Almost instantly, we ordered an espresso for me, and an American coffee with double charge for him. However, that day it came to our mind that every person we know do the same thing over and over when they arrive at a restaurant or waking up at home, even. Coffee has become an important part of our day-by-day actions and it’s a major element of stories, chats, romance and break ups. This scent, created in Arabia in the 15th century and taken through all over the world by Europeans by the 17th century has been with us in cheerful moments, such as that first date and, also, has been a great refuge for cold and lonely days.
To tell you the truth, the subject came up rather easily, for my friend is a real passionate expert on coffee, so he brought some information I ignored about this grain from which Mexico has some of the best varieties in the world, which is ironic considering the low consumption per capita compared to other nations where the don’t even produce coffee. How can you explain that Germany and Finland have a per capita consumption of 7 and 12 kilograms each year, while Mexico’s consumption barely reaches 1.3 kilograms?
Waiting the second espresso and ordering our dishes, we talked about the varieties and places where the best ones are produced, being Brazil the world’s most important producer, followed by Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Mexico. This caught my eye, for it means that exporting production must have an important place in our economy and I was totally right. Our country produces little less than 5 million bags every coffee season and 62% of that production goes to foreign trade, which turns back as 400 million dollars every harvest. Our coffee is enjoyed in Belgium, Germany, Japan and Switzerland. This is possible thanks to 3 million producers from small and basic grain producers to grand harvesters, scattered around in 56 regions of 12 states. Besides, even when Mexico has the 9th place for output performance, is the World’s first place in Certified Organic Grain production.
Then, how come our country’s consumption is so low? The Mexican Association for the Production Chain of Coffee is working on that, creating projects and regulations that allow an improvement through high quality certification for Q Grade and Q Coffee grains, which will allow to have exporting batches that will have main priority distribution among the best buyers, pushing the industry forward. Also, supporting the producers in best distribution and commercialization in Mexico, because the global demand for coffee is expected to grow by 2% in 2010.
By the end of the morning and aware that one of my scheduled activities was renewing my personal coffee batch, I asked for advice on varieties and flavors in the city. I’ve always bought coffee from Chiapas and Veracruz, based on the wide known fact that these places are where the best coffee in Mexico is produced. Yes, I learned that the varieties produced in Mexico are the Arabic and the Robust ones. The first one is the one with the biggest value on national and international markets, which is good, knowing that 96% of the coffee produced in Mexico comes from this variety. Of course, the explanation wasn’t that simple, for this same variety has some varieties of itself such as bourboun and mundo novo. It has less caffeine than the robust type but it has a deep scent and an exquisite taste. The robust type is used, mainly, for mixing with other grains and preparing instant coffees which I tend to stay away from. There are, obviously, other varieties produced around the world, such as Maragogipe from Guatemala with a sweet taste and a very intense aroma. Also, the Tarrazul grain from Costa Rica, made famous by little coffee shops in Mexico City for some years now.
We pay the bill and say goodbye to my friend. Walking in the streets of downtown in Mexico City, I detected the scent and went straight to one of my favorite places for buying coffee. There I was convinced that my knowledge was wider than before and that, beyond the classical Brazilian coffee or a good mix of Colombian grains, the Mexican coffe has an important place among grinders and coffee machines and, therefore, I ordered a special mix of Mexican grains and returned home to store it properly in the fridge.
And this was because, past the numbers talking about Mexican grains, beyond what statistics impose us as truth, coffee has been our partner and friend since we were children. That scent takes us to those mornings with our parents in which that smoking beverage draw a line in the table between the kid world and the grown up world and, at the same time, refers us to those secure and comfortable places we long for. That is why, when we get older, we’re still searching for that unique smell. Even if today, in this side of the table, childhood has been left behind and we finally understood that, indeed, every morning starts after that sip of coffee.