Mexico - Finca Hamburgo

Mexico - Finca Hamburgo

2023 marks our 1st year of working directly with the beautiful Finca Hamburgo, Mexico. Thanks to a chance meeting back in 2015, Ori was able to forge a connection with Tomas Bruno which has since developed and evolved into a brand new direct-trade relationship for us at MB.

Olly, our Roastery Manager, caught up with Tomas Bruno in September 2023 and got his thoughts on all things Mexican coffee, including how they've adapted their methods on the farm over the years and how they are building a strong, solid & sustainable foundation to utilise for years to come.

Q: When / How did you first become involved in coffee growing & exporting?

A: In 2013 I came back from University to start my career in coffee at Finca Hamburgo. I chose to begin with exploring the old farming methods that require less fertilising, supported by our own environment like reutilising coffee cherry pulp, using worms to make a quality compost, utilising natural enemies of coffee diseases and pests (one of them is a wasp that eats the coffee cherry borer) and many other tools and techniques that are available in our area. Some of them were successful that we continue to apply to this day.

In 2015 I went to Germany to visit one of Finca Hamburgo’s customers, stayed there for 2 months learning about roasting and general coffee knowledge, the same course were I met Ori Halup! From there I learned much more about coffee varieties, coffee drying processes, the bases of specialty coffees.

After coming back from Germany I established a coffee roastery in Finca Hamburgo. When that same year’s harvest began, Finca Hamburgo made its first coffee micro lots. After 8 years these two things became our new vision of what my family and I want Finca Hamburgo to become.


Q: How have the Finca Hamburgo farms become established over the years?

A: Finca Hamburgo was founded in 1888 by Arthur Erich Edelmann with the goal of planting arabica coffee to supply the growing international demand for arabica coffee. It’s first coffee exports began in late 1800’s under the brand 'Cafetal Hamburgo' and it was mostly shipped directly to Hamburg city ports.
At the end of the 1920’s Arthur Erich passed away forcing his son Harald Bruno Edelmann to take ownership of Finca Hamburgo in the early 1930’s. He continued to direct the expansion of the coffee plantation and the coffee mill, with the vision of producing the highest quality coffees. He brought seeds of different coffee varieties from other countries, installed drum coffee driers, installed mechanic bean sorters to cure the beans, installed a hydroelectric generator and a gondola lift to carry coffee cherries from the fields to the mill.

By the 1950’s Finca Hamburgo was fully equipped and organised, producing and exporting specialty coffees under its own brand.

In the 1960’s the International Coffee Association established fixed prices for the worldwide coffee trade, this political arrangement disincentivised focusing on specialty coffee in favour of volume production. During these years Finca Hamburgo saw its highest volume of production ever seen. This state of matters ended abruptly in the year 1989 when the worldwide coffee market fixed price was abandoned, coffee prices plummeted drastically, many farms in the region went broke, Finca Hamburgo went broke too.

After the 1989 crash, the people who worked in Finca Hamburgo together with the current owners - my dad Thomas Edelmann Blass and my mom Maria Amalia Toriello - decided to start over with coffee production. The new goal was to produce specialty coffees like it used to be and what Finca Hamburgo was already built for, the equipment and knowledge for specialty coffee was still there. It was the right decision, from that time forward Finca Hamburgo improved the coffee mill and planted new coffee varieties, it also was able to upgrade workers houses and buy better farming equipment.

In 2015 we established a roastery to go for the next step in the coffee chain. By 2023 the roastery expanded, it is now equipped with grinders and a packing station.


Q: How is Mexican coffee doing in the current global market & how resilient are the crops to climate pressures?

A: Prior to 1989, Mexico was in the top 10 coffee producers of the world however after 1989 our country was less known. Now with the specialty coffee sector inside Mexico booming, we are starting to get a little more attention from the global markets. Mexico has 4 different coffee regions each one with a particular microclimate that creates a big diversity of taste profiles.
Climate change has caused coffee pests to evolve, some of them became more aggressive, like the coffee leaf rust which was not a big deal 30 years ago but now it has become a threat to farmers. As global warming has progressed, many arabica coffee farmers have switched to robusta coffee which is better suited for warm temperatures. If this trend continues we will probably see less arabica coffee plantations and more robusta coffees.
When coffee trees are planted in a suitable area, properly maintained, well pruned, well fed, with some shade, they become resilient to climate pressures.

Q: How are the farms meeting the growing expectations of organic, ethical & sustainable farming techniques, including workforce welfare?

A: By communicating all these expectations, farmers have responded well and meet these expectations when possible. It is of great importance that customers know what is going on in the farms day to day, most important is that a cooperation for improvement is established.

Q: What does the future hold for coffee from Mexico? And do you have any big plans for your current farms?

A: Inside Mexico the demand for coffee is growing in every type; specialty coffee, commodity coffee, and instant coffee.

We have seen the opening of coffee shops in every city inside of Mexico. That is great news for us farmers and roasters, this gives us the possibility to have a secure cash flow even if it’s of little sells once a week.  

Our long term plan is to roast as much of our coffees as possible and to keep good relations with overseas customers like Missing Bean. The more direct-trade, the better!

Q: What makes the coffees that Missing Bean have selected so special? (Red Catuai & Red Bourbon) And how would you recommend brewing them?

A: The Catuai and Bourbon were originally planted in the 1980’s. These 40 year old coffee plants have developed a deep root system that enhances the coffee flavour. The soil type is a volcanic clay red colour which I believe provides it’s unique smooth acidity.

My favourite way to brew them is with the Italian moka for espresso, and on hot days it goes perfectly as espresso ice coffee.

Q: How can the general public help to encourage more coffee being produced by people with your attitudes and beliefs?

A: I believe that we must establish constant communication between farmers, roasters and drinkers. Farming coffee is risky and hard, so please recognise our work with good prices that fair to us and to drinkers as well.


You can shop our Mexico coffee and support this amazing industry HERE.