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Coffee in Mexico

Mexican Coffee beans

Mexican Coffee. Mexico currently stands as the main exporter of coffee to the US. Read on to learn more about Mexican Coffee and the history of coffee.

Coffee is the second most sold commodity in the world, falling just behind oil. Over the last century though it has become one of Mexico’s most valued exports, providing a source of income for more than 2 million people around the country. Mexico for many years has been the main source of imported coffee to the US, and the 8th largest producer in the world.

The History of Coffee in Mexico

Coffee arrived in Mexico in the late 18th century, when the Spanish brought it over from Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Gold and silver were for many years the main exports of Mexico and dedicated a lot of land to extracting rich mineral deposits. This, combined with Mexican bureaucracy, meant that land was not allocated to coffee cultivation in a timely manner which discouraged foreign investment in coffee production. By the end of the 18th century coffee was being cultivated in the state of Veracruz along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The boom in coffee production began in the 1950's when coffee began trading at prices not seen before. In an attempt to produce coffee more cheaply, production capacity was increased in Mexico to take advantage of the lower production costs there thus increasing its profitability.

The rise of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in the 20th century saw the creation of the National Coffee Institute of Mexico (INMECAFE). This government institute was dedicated to controlling the production of Coffee within Mexico guaranteeing stability in production quotas, price inflation and offering technical expertise. This institute also promoted the cultivation of coffee in areas susceptible to its successful farming. With the fall of the Mexican economy in the late 80's, President Salinas had to dissolve this organism under restructuring agreements implemented by the World Bank and other institutions in order to bail out the floundering Mexican economy.

The Mexican Coffee crisis of 1989

In 1989 the International Coffee Agreement (ICA), an accord between coffee producing nations, which artificially controlled price and production of this commodity also dissolved. With the disappearance of the INMECAFE and the ICA, Mexico's shortcomings in the coffee market were exposed and its inefficient policies began to drag down the Mexican coffee market. From 1989 to 1995 coffee production in Mexico withered by almost 7% and coffee growers were earning 65% less than before 1989 due to the lack of price controls. Because of declining production and an acute lack of income, producers began a downward spiral of little to no investment in fertilizers and pest control which further reduced the quality and quantity of the coffee.

Since the 2006 Mexico is beginning to rebound in coffee production but it still lags behind the quantity produced during the golden years of the 80's. There is and has always been quality coffee grown in Mexico which is sought out actively by specialty roasters in the United States who pay higher than market prices for quality beans. Not only for coffee roasters to enjoy; quality Mexican coffee is highly appreciated by coffee connoisseurs the world over for its light texture and acidic liveliness.