Region: Union Juarez, Chiapas
Estate: Muxbal Estate
Varietal: Pacamara, Caturra, Mondo Novo, Catuai
Growing Altitude: 1,500 m.a.s.l
Processing: Grown with shade, sun dried on raised beds; washed and natural processed.
Cupping Score: 84+
Muxbal Estate is a stunning, mountain-top coffee farm in Unión Juárez. The name “Muxbal” means “place surrounded by clouds” in the Mayan Mam dialect.
The farm covers 236 hectares and is situated at the border of Guatemala. This unique coffee plantation is on the steep slopes of the active volcano Tacana. Half is planted with coffee, and half is a protected ecological reserve of rainforest, rivers, springs and natural flora and fauna. It is has been Rainforest Alliance certified since 2006, and all coffee is produced following sustainable ecological and socio-economic criterias. The owners are commited to environmental sustainability, social care and producing exceptionally high quality coffee beans.
On the property are a school and nursery for the children of the workers, including those who arrive for the harvest, housing and sanitary facilities for all employees and a kitchen that feeds them all. There is also a medical facility for all workers on the farm.
Finca Muxbal has been in the hands of the Rodriguez – Luethje Family since 1959. When the initial road was built around 1965 to connect the farm with the town Union Juarez, further works had to overcome the almost vertical 100 meter high natural rock wall that rises from the river Muxbal to the plateau where the farm sits. Years of hard work had to be invested to rebuild the 236 hectare plantation and to modernize the wet and dry milling facilities.
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 farm is Rainforest Alliance certified and in recent audits achieved marks of 100%, the first in Mexico to achieve the perfect mark.
Finca Muxbal cultivates three key varieties – Catuai, Caturra and Mundo Novo and has produced a wonderfully complex coffee. The quality of this coffee is partly due to an altitude of 1,600 metres above sea level, with rich and fertile volcanic soils, but also due to the meticulous care and attention taken in all aspects of harvesting and processing.
Nowadays the farm management takes care of weed control by hand to protect the environment and the same goes for the shade management. Muxbal recognises that it is only with enough beneficial sun that they will get the optimum quantity and quality of the beans. It is only with educated and well prepared staff that all things work smoothly, from the picking of the ripe cherries with up to 350 workers, to the proper wet and dry process and many other activities required on the farm.
When walking through the plantation, always guarded by the mighty volcano on one side, it is easy to perceive that the same care given to the people working there is also afforded to the coffee plants.