Small World Coffee

Oaxaca Love Tour – Part 2

By Jessica | Thursday, March 13th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Oaxaca city is located in the central valley of the state of Oaxaca in the foothills of the Sierra Madre. This beautiful city is known for it’s colonial era structures as well as native Zapotec and Mixtec archeological sites. The diversity of the Oaxacan cuisine has given it a reputation of being the culinary capital of Mexico and the nickname Land of the Seven Moles. We had a lot of fun wandering the streets and markets of Oaxaca, sampling the food and taking in the local artisan crafts.

Mole

Another fun bonus was that one of our former worldings, Kyle, has opened three cafés in Oaxaca since 2006 called Café Brújula.

Café Brújula

I stopped by his café looking for him to no avail; his employees were very good at putting up the smoke screen on his whereabouts. But then, as we were walking the streets we ran into Kyle. He was super duper surprised to see us!

Mirage espresso machine.

Kyle met us later for drinks and at the end of our trip I had a chance to work on his brand new Mirage espresso machine.

After our time in Oaxaca, we left for the mountains. Traveling through tiny villages towards the coffee region of Pluma Hidalgo. We stayed at a finca (farm) that had simple accommodations and a breathtaking 360-degree view of the mountain region.

Finca in Pluma Hidalgo.

From there we drove around looking for coffee farms, some were places that Jen had researched and others were ones that we found while we were there. Jen and Dave have a driver that they use for their trips in this region, Rafa, who was a priceless addition to our journey.

David and Rafa

Rafa is a true road warrior and a fearless navigator and investigator of a region. Constantly stopping the van and asking passersby, “perdon, tengo una preguntita.” From the mountain region we descended to the coast and enjoyed a day on the Pacific. Rafa has a friend, Valentino, with a small boat who took us out to explore the many bays that Huatulco is famous for…an afternoon of swimming on a secluded beach, with Tortuga and humpback whale sightings was a perfect antidote to the winter we have had in Jersey!

Next our journey took us back over the mountains. We needed to get back to Oaxaca for our flight home, but we also knew that we wanted to explore the coffee region more. If we were going to create this trip, Coffee, Culture and Cuisine, we needed to find some more compelling coffee farms. I emailed Kyle who is an expert on Mexican coffees, and he told me about Finca Chelin. He said it was a small operation, but they produced some of the best coffee in Oaxaca, if not Mexico. In fact, as I found out later, this farmer, Enrique, has placed second and third in the Mexico Cup of Excellence the last two years.

Enrique’s goal is to be in first place this year. All Kyle was able to tell us was the name of the finca and the region it was in. This is when Rafa, our driver, came in really handy. As we ascended the mountains going higher and higher in elevation, he would stop and ask folks in these tiny little villages, “una preguntita”. As we knew we were getting closer, we saw two men walking down the street with big sacks of coffee on their backs. Rafa asked them if they knew where Finca Chelin was and indeed they were just coming from there! We turned around on this crazy narrow road on the mountain and went up an unmarked dirt driveway, up and up, until finally we saw a beautiful patio filled with coffee beans that were being dried and raked by two men.

Raking coffee at Finca Chelin

Not only did we finally find Finca Chelin but we also got to meet the owner, Enrique, who immediately invited us in for a cup of coffee and provided with me green bean samples to take back to Brant and Jon to sample roast and cup!

Enrique of Finca Chelin

It was an exhilarating experience for me, because it was the first time in my 20 plus year career in coffee that I saw coffee at origin being processed. I was immediately struck by the intense floral and almost tamarind like aroma coming off of the coffee drying in the sun. It was a breathtaking moment and one that I want to experience again!

Home made empanadas.

So our journey brought us to many great places all over the state of Oaxaca. All along the way the locals greeted us with so much kindness and hospitality.

La Flor del Cafe

It was fun traveling with Jen and Dave, celebrating love and life. It was also great to research our trip, Coffee, Culture and Cuisine. Stay tuned. We will be fine-tuning the details of the trip and letting our Small World customer base have the first shot at booking it!

Here’s to love, life and adventure!

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