Setting the Bar with Oaxaca

Oaxaca hosts our longest-standing, deepest relationships in all of Mexico—it’s the area that drew us in and keeps us going deeper every year. The coffees here are incredibly special, both in their elegance and their scarcity.

On the flavor side, these coffees define clean cup and balance. Extremely approachable, they’re classic coffees you want to drink all day, but with a refined elegance that stands out. Top notes include sweet tangerine, green apple, and red fruit like strawberry or plum preserves, backed up by tons of additional sweetness like dark chocolate and honey. Through maintaining the traditional varieties and processing methods, this area is seeing really consistent quality year over year, especially in San Agustin Loxicha and the larger Sierra Sur area where the majority of these come from in 2024. All coffees are shade-grown, all using organic methods. We cup each individual farmer’s production, no matter how small, and carefully craft bespoke lots representing their work as communities. 

Challenges & Opportunities

Setting the bar high in OaxacaOaxaca’s harvest started in late January and the farmers we work with really continue to show that they’re doing the right work and making good investments, with not just quality but great productivity, especially in Loxicha/Sierra Sur.

The biggest challenge here, which we’ve discussed before, is labor costs that have quadrupled over the last 2 years. Oaxaca is also interesting in that right now it’s completely decoupled from the fluctuations of the C market, partly because there’s actually a domestic market of specialty roasters who recognize those prices as untenable and partly because of the absence of formal coops, leading local smallholder communities to run the show.

Another component is that our presence as ready and enthusiastic buyers here means we are invested in these coffees continuing to be worth it for producers, since their existence enriches the entire coffee-drinking world. They’re valuable in a very different way than the coffees we’re bringing in from Veracruz. We really don’t see other buyers here with any kind of consistency at a similar scale, and we see immense importance to supporting these communities’ work.  Which is to say, if you see cheap coffee out of Oaxaca it’s either not really from Oaxaca or relies on overtly exploitative practices, especially this year as labor costs continue to climb. These coffees are absolutely worth it, and we anticipate a continued growing recognition of that worth with each new season.

Interested in sourcing coffee with us? Reach out at info@redfoxcoffeemerchants.comTo learn more about our work, check out our journal and follow us on Instagram @redfoxcoffeemerchants, Twitter @redfoxcoffeeSpotify, and YouTube.

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