Global Coffee Economy: Market growth boosts poor communities despite price slump
Updated 11:11, 15-Aug-2019
It can be hard to keep in mind when you pay dizzying prices for your coffee shop cappuccino. But global supply chains for coffee start in some of the world's poorest and most remote communities. They have been the hardest hit when prices slumped to a 12-year low last year. But one community in Mexico is going strong because it grows a bean that's been called "black gold." CGTN's Alasdair Baverstock has this report.
The mountain town of Pluma Hidalgo. Since its founding 130 years ago - in the jungled hills above Mexico's Pacific Coast - it has produced some of the world's finest coffee. Salvador Esteban is the great-grandson of the town's founder. He credits the coffee's quality to the region's natural abundance.
ALASDAIR BAVERSTOCK PLUMA HIDALGO, MEXICO "Here in Pluma Hidalgo, situated in one of Mexico's most impoverished regions, they produce a unique coffee bean not found anywhere else in the world. It's helping to stimulate the local economy and make a difference to this town's fortunes."
SALVADOR ESTEBAN PLUMA HIDALGO RESIDENT "This region produces the best coffee, a lot of people who have visited here have told us. What makes the coffee from here famous are the conditions in which it's grown: the altitude, the climate and the fertile soil which give it its flavor."
Today, Pluma Hidalgo coffee has been granted a special status as a premium regional coffee. Local businesses estimate the area sells millions of dollars' worth of coffee beans a year. The coffee has become so famous that the tiny town is becoming a tourist destination. A guidebook author for Oaxaca State, Cody Copeland, says there's a tourism boom here.
CODY COPELAND GUIDEBOOK AUTHOR "I think more people are doing this 'pilgrimage'-style trip to go to where the coffee is actually made. And the way that tourism is going, that's what tourists are looking for. They're looking for this authentic experience."
It's encouraging the next generation to become local entrepreneurs, instead of leaving for better pay in the big cities. Rosario Esteban is Salvador's daughter. Seven years ago, she was one of the first in town to open a coffee shop serving tourists.
ROSARIO ESTEBAN LA BOVEDA COFFEE "We live in a very small town, but we've seen an increase in tourism seeking coffee culture. I think it's important for young people to be able to work with coffee, because coming from such a beautiful place, it's better if we can stay here."
As the coffee industry grows, the future of this town's future generations looks secure in this jungle oasis above the clouds. Alasdair Baverstock, CGTN, Pluma Hildalgo, Mexico.