(excerpt – full story available here)
When people think of coffee from Mexico, they think of Veracruz, Chiapas, Oaxaca, or Puebla. They rarely think of Guerrero, and they do not think of Zihuatanejo, a town along Mexico’s Costa Grande. The farms in Zihuatanejo that we visited are expansive with 26 members covering 400 hectares and 533,000 trees (~1,300 trees/hectare). These farms average 4300-5000 ft above sea-level and are beautiful, “kissed by the ocean’s salty breath,” in the words of farmer Maria Guadalupe Gomez-Anzo. Most coffee from this region has traditionally gone to middlemen who pay little attention to quality, but farmers are well-versed on good agronomic practices. Farmers here roast, cup, and drink their own coffee. Ceasar Galeana Sortiz was the first to produce coffee in Zijuatanejo, and since he has passed on the coffee growth to two generations below him. These farmers have taken an array of environmental initiatives from locating the proper organic inputs for their coffee, to cataloging local flora, attending regional seminars on environmental management, and preparing for a business to bring eco-tourism to the area.