The view from Guadalupe Victoria, looking into Guatemala
Greetings from Chiapas, our last stop on this harvest visit to Mexico’s coffee states. Starting in Veracruz, we’ve woven our way south through Oaxaca and witnessed the tail end of what has been a trying harvest. Estimates of production are at forty percent reduction due to poor weather and roya, the leaf destroying fungus I wrote about in our visit to Guatemala last year. It’s been a whirlwind of a trip, with long days on windy mountain roads, numerous cupping sessions, and meetings with farmers. Here are some of the highlights:
Visiting Finca Fatima, near Xalapa
Meeting Ranulfo Lara in Teoselo (he let us try his homemade orange liquor!)
Germinating Marsellesa, a rust resistant variety with good cup quality
Cupping at the Ixhuatlan wet mill
Visiting La Lagunilla, an organic cooperative in Oaxaca
In Oaxaca, Claudia preparing a delicious breakfast of chile de huevos, tlayudas, and café de olla
The stunning mountains outside of Chico Musela, Chiapas
Checking out Mario Lopez’s farm near Pantelho, Chiapas
An amazing sculpture, in memory of the victims of the Acteal Massacre.
“Not just for the taste, or the eco-friendly, conscientiously minded business, but because the folks at Caffé Vita’s obsession for coffee is total: from the bean to the consumption of the end product and the environs it’s consumed in.”
Seattle’s eclectic roster of roasteries offers the best reflections of what’s brewing locally, be it buzzworthy neighbourhoods or cultural styles. Look no further than cool Caffé Vita, owned by Mike McConnell, a local kid who discovered the allure of good coffee during his challenging formative years.
“In the 80’s we used to save up our money and go drink espresso at the Nordstrom Coffee Bar,” he recalls, “a bunch of ragged teenagers with unintentionally ripped jeans sampling Italian coffees in a high end department store.”
McConnell’s flagship Caffé Vita sits on Pike Street, smack in the middle of the Pike-Pine Corridor, Seattle’s most dynamic district. The minimalist ambience reflects its founder; the baristas tattooed and pierced, the music loud, the coffee outrageously good.
Like Seattle’s grunge music movement, when musicians routinely sat in with other bands, Seattle’s espresso culture remains a cooperative affair. McConnell credits Espresso Vivace’s David Schomer with teaching him the trade and encouraging him to strike out on his own right around the corner.
Caffeination Cascadia: Your Favorite Distiller’s Favorite Coffee
Northwest spirits producers often work closely with coffee roasters to produce coffee liqueurs or match liquors to coffee for exceptional cocktails. They also frequently enjoy a hot, strong cup on their own time. Here are a few of your favorite Northwest distillers on their favorite Northwest cafés and coffees.
Rain City owner and distiller Duffy says, “One thing I really appreciate about Caffe Vita is their commitment to not only excellence but to artisan roasting.”