The new coffee marketing company based in Berkeley, California, Red Fox Coffee Merchants signed a lease on a building that will become a laboratory and offices in Oaxaca, Mexico.
The facilities are based on a model that Red Fox has been refining with its office in Lima, Peru, and reflects the company’s desire to discover and promote high-quality and more traceably coffees from Oaxaca and the fields in southern Mexico .
Although the effect that the recently signed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will have on trade relations between the United States and Mexico is unclear, if any, the investment of Red Fox comes at a remarkable political moment, as the US president continues to launch his usual incendiary messages to Mexican Americans and immigrants and continues to try to build a wall between the two nations.
“I feel that it is almost our responsibility to show producers and communities in Mexico that there is a large consumer and small business base in the United States that wants to maintain healthy business relationships, that value and respect people from different cultures and that, in addition They have an interest in doing good business with our neighbors and that they are regenerative, not extractive, Adam McClellan, head of supply and sales of Red Fox in Mexico, recently told the Daily Coffee News (DCN). I also think that consumers respond really well to Mexico as a single source, and our roasting customers have had very good sales in recent years, primarily because it is as familiar and recognizable as a name, [y] It has a super accessible and sweet flavor profile, but it is also likely due to the large population of first, second, and third generation Mexicans living and working in the United States. ”
Based in the city center of Oaxaca, the Red Fox facilities will be in a renovated house and will include a cupping laboratory, an area for receiving samples and another for processing and roasting, in addition to having offices, meeting rooms and an outdoor terrace on the upper floors. The Red Fox team in Peru worked with some 2,000 coffee samples in a similarly conceived facility during the last coffee season.
“The physical proximity to producer regions means that our team can go out into the field to visit growers constantly and also allows us to select coffees quickly and efficiently,” Red Fox director Ali Newcomb told DCN. Cooperative producers and staff can easily participate in the trainings or join us in preparing their coffees so that they better understand our selection process. ”
Red Fox co-founder and CEO Aleco Chigounis said that while Red Fox’s “secret sauce” is putting coffee in the hands of customers as quickly as possible, they will occasionally use a newly licensed export license. obtained in Mexico to protect existing relationships.
“Our relationships with cooperatives and producer associations are, of course, a critical point; export figures are valuable to them, ”Chigounis said. We have no interest in invading your responsibilities. “
What the company is currently interested in is specialty coffee from Oaxaca and Mexico in general. To help this sector grow within its own interests, those of its home partners and its clients abroad, Red Fox plans to facilitate financing that encourages coffee growers. Newcomb added: “In Mexico, as in Peru, we have worked with financial institutions and our local partners to ensure that, in most cases, producers receive a percentage upfront when they deliver their parchment.”
Red Fox also plans to help coffee producers across the region to advance in terms of quality and differentiation, in order to attract the high-priced specialty market.
McClellan noted that coffees across Mexico have historically been blended since their origins, the result being consistent, volume-oriented products, but not necessarily having dynamic ranges in supply.
“Mexico, especially Oaxaca, is where the Fair Trade certification system began. Within that system, mixing coffees from producers at very different altitudes was and is standard practice, McClellan said, and in addition, by supplying coffees for fair trade and organic trade historically and solidly, they tended to be sold as blends. they did not provide many incentives to separate quality at source. Once the coffees in this region are considered as separate batches of a wide altitude range, the potential for quality skyrockets. ”
This note was originally published in English. It has been translated by Roast Magazine.