Joys of buying coffee directly from the grower in Mexico, Francisco. It is a bit embarrassing because in my case the cliché that people from Seattle are “coffee snobs” is totally true. I love coffee strong, dark, and in large quantities! Although coffee brings me great joy; I am conscious that it should not do so to the detriment of others. I carefully select my coffee from companies known to pay harvesters fair wages and not expose them to pesticides.
The first thing I started buying organic was coffee after I read about the harmful effects of chemical pesticides and herbicides on farmworkers. As much as I love it, I can’t really claim coffee is a “necessity”. If I am going to indulge, I will do so conscientiously. Being in Mexico takes this to a whole new level, I was tipped off to look for a coffee vendor from Veracruz that sells from his truck on the main street in Ajijic. I was told his coffee was “incredible”. Of course, I wanted to try it but remained skeptical.
Driving along the carretera, I saw a big box truck and a man behind it grinding coffee by hand! We immediately pulled over and I ran up and asked him if he was from Veracruz. “Sí”, he replied. With my broken Spanish, I ordered a kilo of dark roasted whole beans. The smell of coffee wafted deliciously from the truck. Francisco handed me the beans and I lifted the bag to my nose and inhaled deeply – heavenly. The next morning, I couldn’t wait for the first taste. I always use a French press, so patience is necessary. It was worth it; the coffee has a bold full flavor but is also delicately smooth. It is perfectly balanced, with no bitterness. No sweetener needed, in my opinion (although it is lovely with a dollop of whipped cream).
Over the last 3 months, my family has come to know Francisco through our weekly visits to his truck. His family produces the coffee in Veracruz and he has driven back and forth from Ajijic to his family farm for the last 17 years. He told us the Americans and Canadians in Ajijic have been good to him and although it can take up to twelve hours each way for the trip, he said it is “no problem” he is used to it.
We introduced Francisco to my mom, who lives in Ajijic, and she quickly became a customer. He is an incredibly kind man that greets us warmly each time we see him, whether passing each other when we are driving or just bumping into each other on the street. Being able to buy directly from him and knowing it helps support his family and that growing/selling coffee brings him joy makes my indulgence in the delicious black water even more pleasurable. We will buy as many kilos as possible before leaving the area and will miss seeing Francisco. If you are ever in Ajijic look him up and tell him Stan (with the big beard) and Robin from Seattle sent you!
By Robin Harwick @ LETgo: Grab Opportunity https://lifeeducationtravel.org/
Photo Credit: Stan Reed @ LETgo: Grab Opportunity