Our love for Mexico led us to a coffee grower in the hills above Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Despite any visuals that come to mind about automated food production, here the coffee beans are hand picked. They are cleaned and prepped with care and finally roasted to a toasty perfection by the fifth generation of coffee growers in the Altos de Jalisco region of Mexico.
In this mountainous area there are many small towns. After several hours of driving we reached our first destination. Talpa, where the annual pilgrimage to the ‘virgin’ brings thousands of worshippers, is also locally famous for their coffee. Small orchards sell their crops to the roasters in town. The beans here have a delicious and very well rounded flavor.
Our second stop was the lesser known, and a bit harder to find, smaller town of Mascota. We found the coffee production here to be mostly for personal or very local use. The flavors were very good and not acidic. Our travels, however, were not complete and we pushed on.
By mid afternoon, nearly ready for a nice siesta, we reached San Sebastion del Oeste. At nearly 4,500 feet this former mining town has a history dating back to the early 1600’s. It was once a provincial capital with population 40,000 but now is very quiet with only about 600 inhabitants to enjoy the dry mountain air and cool climate. The overwhelming feeling here is that nothing has changed in a hundred years. As we walked through the massive front door of “Quinta Mary” we realized that not much has. Our greeting is a quiet offering of piping hot stout coffee that has wonderful flavors of cinnamon, canela, and Mexican chocolate that was ground right along with the freshly roasted beans…it was the perfect “pick-me-up” for our afternoon haze.
On his 300 year old plantation, Don Rafael, grandson of founder Doña Mary, raises 25,000 coffee trees – organically. He uses chili, onion, and garlic to protect the growing fruit from passing predators and the groves are fertilized with the shed fruit of the coffee beans. Along side the pen where he also cares for two Macaw parrot chicks, he spreads out the harvested beans to dry in the warm afternoon sun. The roaster is a well cared for vintage piece of equipment and Rafael knows it like the back of his hand. As the beans darken and the rich vapors waft about the hacienda we listen to the stories about this family business.
Rafael explains to us the nuances of growing, harvesting and roasting; he is truly an expert. His schooling comes from generations perfecting an artisan level production of a magical drink. As we present to our taste buds various levels of rich toasty delights, he takes mental notes on our favorites. Formulating the level of medium roasted full bodied, with the addition smokey dark beans, we arrive at a blend that we feel is perfection. Soon it was time to seal the bags and bid farewell to Rafael, “hasta pronto amigo, muchas gracias y …adios!”
We bring our specially roasted blend directly to you with the hopes that you too will love the rich delicious history of our ADios Cafe!