Underdog Harvest Emerges Victorious in Veracruz

Although it’s not something you might typically associate with Veracruz community lots, they actually host such a fantastic balance between quality and price point that they’re often sold out completely before they arrive. These are coffees that can easily do double-duty as high-quality blend components or single-origin offerings.

Flavor-wise, Veracruz community lots present an extremely balanced cup profile, leaning toward bright red fruit like raspberry, dried cherry, and cranberry, with structured sweet brightness like tangerine and orange peel. The lower-end sweetness backs all this up with notes of raisin, amber honey, molasses, and dark chocolate.

Challenges & Opportunities

Veracruz community in action

Background on this harvest: it’s been an interesting one with fantastic quality but a lower volume than initially anticipated due to an array of factors making these coffees even more valuable than usual.

The lower elevations we don’t purchase from started harvest early with a very strong crop volume coming from ideal weather conditions. Usually from there, harvest transitions smoothly into the higher altitudes where we work, but this year cold and rainy conditions hit and the harvest was stalled for almost a month. The weather conditions and slowdowns led pickers, a majority migrant labor force in Veracruz, to leave the area to find work elsewhere.

When the weather improved rapidly in early February, we got in and set some higher prices in the area to ensure that the workforce would reenter. Sure enough, cherry started flowing steadily into the central wet mill in Coatepec. We had anticipated more volume than we’ll get, but conversely the quality is higher than ever since the cherry picking has been more selective and there’s smaller volumes create good incentives to process at exactly the right speed without pressure to rush.

The coffees we’re bringing in come from the high-altitude areas between Puebla and Veracruz, and around the town of Xico. We’ve been working there for years at this point, and we love to see how consistency and best practices in processing continue to improve. Because this Coatepec subregion has central wet milling, the system of cherry buying offers economies of scale that don’t exist in Oaxaca, without sacrificing local quality potential or prices paid to farmers. The model here is extremely distinct from the very active, hands-on development and collection work we do and facilitate in Oaxaca.

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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