Mexico is a land of dreams. Last year we had the pleasure of visiting the Distrito Federal not once but twice with super cheap-o direct flights out of LAX. Perhaps we were inspired by that ridiculous opening sequence on the latest Bond flick - or maybe it was the NY Times 2016 Travel List that finally nudged us to head down (they topped last year's "Places to Go" list). We romped around the hip enclaves of Roma Norte, paroozed the ancient Zócalo, roamed the pyramids of Teotihuacan, and drank far too much mezcal. Oh my goodness - the mezcal down there!
... so it only seemed appropriate that our favorite coffee on the cupping table recently comes from northern Oaxaca (just a few hours away from our favorite city from last year). We firmly believe that all coffees deserve a nickname - say hello to MAX.
Named after the producer (Maximino Juárez Gonzales) from this enchanting Cañada region of northern Oaxaca - this coffee absolutely blows our minds. Make sure to give it a sniff right after it's ground - see if you can pick up an earthy-sweet squash thing happening. "Huaxyácac" (original Aztec settlement for which Oaxaca was named) quite literally translates to "in the nose of the squash" - seems fitting enough to us!
This coffee seems to defy categorization - which happens to be our favorite types of things. Identifying coffees from other "standard" coffee-growing regions gets pretty easy with enough practice (even the ones we love can be pretty predictable). Max, on the other hand, tastes both sweet and savory at the same time ... and the nose on it hits you with a funky-fresh weirdness that we can only urge you to play with. We really love this coffee.
Cañada Oaxaqueña also happens to be wedged between a few curious features: to the north is Presa Miguel Alemán (one of the largest manmade lakes in the world), and to the south is the Sierra Juarez mountain range (which happens to sport some of the finest mountain biking in Mexico). Which is not to say that the average Cañada citizen is out living the lap of luxury ... quite the opposite in fact. A vast majority of Oaxaca's 3.8 million citizens come from a wide range of indigenous backgrounds (up to 80% of the population, by some unofficial numbers) and happen to be among some of the poorest in the country.
We're extremely pleased to present Max as our first batch - and we can already feel a small pang of heartbreak, knowing that once this coffee is gone - it's truly gone. Please don't get too attached (a challenge, we know...) because there is a stellar lineup of new coffees coming in the weeks and months ahead!