Mexico Los Loxichas
Santiago Sochiltepec is a town of one thousand people, 420 indigenous Zapoteca households and
80 cell phones. It’s also the most populated town in the entire municipality, which spans the Sierra
Madre mountain range that separates Oaxaca’s Central Valley from the Pacific Coast. This area is
cooled by pine forests, evening fog and morning dew – making it the perfect climate for coffee. It’s
not chance that this is the heart of Mexico’s famous La Pluma region, home to the Typica varietal of
the same name and now protected as a recognized geographic indicator. Farmers from Sochiltepec
are turning on to specialty one by one, and for advice they turn to Terra Coffeeas.
Terra Coffeas Mexico is a new (2022) collaboration to bring 80 years of operational expertise from
the mill to export – in the form of long-time family-business Galguera Gomez – together with fresh
perspectives from a young, CQI-calibrated team of on-the-ground mobilizers – led by the passionate
Frida Mendoza. Their team includes engineers, agronomists, biologists, chemists, cuppers, artists
and, of course, coffee lovers, all together for the common goal of agroecológico – the intentional
purposing of international standards for quality, productivity and traceability, towards the
advancement of local cultural practices, environmental resources, and economic outcomes.
This group is on the ground, investing their time and advancing producers consultancy services, well
before the harvest begins. They have a narrow focus that allows them to truly partner with producers,
reviewing farm, processing and export processes as a peer. While visiting the farms, Terra Coffeas
staff also look to the household. They work with producers to fill out a customized family work plan
that recognizes roles related to harvest and processing, and offer to pay an additional premium for women-produced coffees. And this is such a coffee, where women producers received an addition .15 – .20 USD / KG premium (2022).
Fully washed with 12-24 hour delayed pulping, followed by 24-36 hours of wet fermentation (in wood or stone tanks) before washing and drying on raised beds and patios for an average of 15 days, after which It is stored in a farmers’ house until delivery to Oaxaca City.
Mexico is for coffee lovers. Few origins offer such variety, such competency, and such short flights to
the farm. While often overlooked by their neighbors to the north, Mexico is the world’s 7th largest
coffee producer, the largest exporter of organic coffees, and a fast-growing consumers of specialty
Seventy percent of Mexico’s crop comes from larger estates, concentrated around Veracruz, with
the remaining thirty percent coming from 2 million smallholders, spread around the country but mostly
in the Southern States of Chiapas and Oaxaca.
This is also where we find most of Mexico’s indigenous population, communities who moved higher
and higher up-mountain, onto smaller and smaller plots of land, first to get away from colonial Spain,
and later pushed by larger landowners during decades of highly political land reforms. In this way
Mexico’s agrarian, coffee and Puebla movements are intertwined.