In the local Mame dialect Muxbal means ‘place surrounded by clouds’, and was the name chosen for a most unique coffee farm. It stands proudly on the slopes of the active Tacana volcano. The farm is managed by mother and son team Maeggi Rodriguez and Jorge Gallardo. It was purchased in 1959 by Maeggi’s father, Don Enrique, a man who was very much a pioneer of his time. He introduced three key principles that remain as important today as they were then: social responsibility, environmental sustainability and the production of very high quality coffee.
The evidence of these three principles can be seen around the farm and tasted in the cup. The quality is really exceptional. The key varietals include catuai, caturra and mundo novo. Recently pacamara has been introduced – an experiment of Jorge’s that could provide us with some interesting micro-lots in the future.
The farm is Rainforest Alliance certified. It has been achieving an astonishing 100% in recent audits and was the first in Mexico to achieve such perfection. It is easy to understand why. The housing for permanent and temporary staff is clean and comfortable. The canteen is of a high quality – again, spotlessly clean where three nutritious meals are served for all each day. There is also a well-equipped school, which is open throughout the harvest for the children of the coffee pickers. Great emphasis is placed on all of the social needs of the people who work the land at Muxbal. Much of the farm has been given over to a breathtakingly beautiful nature reserve – a gorge where icy mountain waters flow through a jungle that teems with life.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Mexico Finca Muxbal, from Coffee Mojo in Wicklow, Ireland. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Chiapas, Mexico
farm: Finca Muxbal
producer: Maeggai Rodriguez and Jorge Gallardo
elevation: 1600 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Catuai, Mundo Novo, Pacamara
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Rainforest Alliance
method: Hario V60
grind: 16, Preciso
coffee: 28 g
water: 300 g
water temp: 205°
pour: 2:30 concentric pulse pour
Hoo, boy. The aroma of the coffee doesn’t bode well for the rest of today’s cupping. I mean, this is one roasty coffee. Don’t get the wrong idea—it’s not roasted into obliteration or whatever; but it’s far roastier than I was expecting it to be (I wasn’t expecting it to be roasty at all!).
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, the inside of the roaster is what I taste first. The coffee itself is a little smoky and it tastes pretty burnt; carbon, copper, gassy, burnt cedar. Really disappointing. Now, I have to say that there are some pleasant flavors in the cup too—I can taste a bit of honey, some dark chocolate nuances—but roaster is the predominant flavor profile.
As the cup cools off, the coffee becomes wonderfully juicy and it starts showing off some fantastic fruit flavors: juicy white peach, golden kiwi, red delicious apple, and a zesty lemon rind acidity all come busting through that upper crust of roast and flood the palate. Unfortunately, though, that roastiness never goes away and it really shows up at the tail end of each sip, making for a dry, astringent finish.
Full body; juicy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; dry finish.
I have to say, I was really disappointed in Coffee Mojo’s Mexico Finca Muxbal. The real bummer is that the coffee had some real potential! There were some flashes of brilliance toward the back half of the cup.
Last year I tried several coffees from Ireland’s Coffee Mojo and, while some of them weren’t as good as others, they were all pretty. Hell, a couple of them were great! This one, though… If it were from a roaster I wasn’t so intimately familiar with, maybe I’d let it off the hook a bit.
But this wasn’t a good outing for Coffee Mojo.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.