Brewing Hints: Brew for 3 – 4 minutes in a cafetiere. Stands well on a filter machine hotplate!
Roast Depth: Medium Roast, roasted slowly
Origin: Chaipas, Mexico
Characteristics: A pleasantly dry acidy 'snap'
Serving Suggestions: Best drunk without milk. Some people say that Maragogype coffees are the best in the world.
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Mexico has been producing coffee since the late 1790s but did not produce any significant amounts until the late 19th century. Mexico is the 8th largest producer of coffee in the world the majority of coffee produced is Arabica with the main growing areas being Chiapas and Soconusco.
Coffee was first planted in Veracruz but ultimately Chiapas proved to have the right soil, altitude and geology for mass cultivation. Chiapas contributes more coffee than any state in Mexico towards overall coffee production. Mexico has had its difficulties over the years, particularly in late 1980s and 90s the coffee crisis that happened at this time was caused by poor government management, with over-production of coffee which pushed prices to a 30 year low. The average coffee small-holders at this time would have had their annual income reduced for nearly a decade by 65% and the obvious implications of the poverty trap that this created with coffee only producing an annual harvest made things impossible for many of the growers. Things are now very different with the Mexican government taking greater care and farmers enjoying the historically higher priced market over the last 10 years.
So, what is Maragogype?
The Maragogype bean derives its name from Marogogipe County in Bahia (Brazil) where it was first recognised as a hybrid of the Arabica plant that was grown there. Maragogype beans are easily recognisable because they are huge, different origins call their Maragogype varietals different names for example in Kenya Maragogype (Maragogipe) beans are called ‘elephant’ beans. They are noticeably significantly larger than standard coffee beans. The cherries that these beans are the pips of, are much larger than standard coffee cherries, being more of the size of Gordal Spanish Olive than the usual Rosehip size.
The flavour of Maragogype varies tremendously depending on the condition of the soil it is grown in. Deficient soils produce coffee with very little flavour and body. The best Maragogype coffees are left inside the cherry to dry and grown in good quality slightly acidic soils at an altitude of over 800 metres. The majority of Chiapas is at high altitude and lends itself well to growing coffee. Maragogype is considered rare.
We find the best way to roast these beans at a low temp for a fairly long time until they are med roasted which brings out the sugars and the smoothness in the beans. It is worth noting that the crack of these coffee beans (both 1st and 2nd) is significantly louder due to the size of the coffee beans.
Maragogype is ideal for those who do not like very strong coffee and I would personally rec making this in a cafetiere and a grind that is perhaps a little finer than one would traditionally use for this method of making coffee.