The Coffee Route, a charming experience of alternative tourism in Chiapas
The Coffee Route is one of the most fascinating alternative tourism experiences in Chiapas. The traveler travels along paths through the jungle vegetation to find the farms Irlanda, Argovia, Hamburgo, and La Chiripa that have facilities for the attention of visitors.
The Chiapas Coffee Route is located in the Soconusco region and is one of the most fascinating experiences of alternative tourism in Chiapas, besides allowing you to enjoy the Chiapas and coffee you can also learn about the production process that is followed for the elaboration of the coffee from Chiapas.
Along the road surrounded by jungle vegetation at a height between 600 and 1250 m, you can visit several Chiapas coffee farms that open their doors to visitors. In their surroundings you can go hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, rafting, abseiling, flora and fauna observation, and enjoy the beautiful natural environment.
Visiting the Chiapas coffee plantation and discovering all the secrets they keep from the type of plant to the way of roasting the beans is an unforgettable experience. In the surroundings of Chiapas coffee tour is the beautiful waterfall of San Francisco that forms a dizzying fall to the Cuilco River, where in the rainy season you can practice rafting.
Coffee plantation Hamburg
Located 54 km from Tapachula, this farm was founded in 1888 by the German Arthur Edelman, when he was invited by the government of Porfirio Díaz, to undertake this adventure. He has over one hundred years of experience in the cultivation of coffee. Today, the fifth generation of the family is the one that continues to lead the place.
Between the mountainous landscape, you can see the roofs, and brick color of the farm, around the landscape is a real pleasure for the senses because in this fertile land everything grows at the whim of nature: from framboyanes, tamarinds, banana trees, mangos, papaya and of course, the coffee plantations.
It is half a day and the sun is at its zenith, surprising the incessant sound of insects and the aroma of coffee. From here, at the top of the mountain, you can see Tapachula and, incredible as it may seem, on clear days, you can also see the sea. This site surrounds its environment, there are 540 hectares of coffee plantations of the Arabica species that are grown here and harvested from October to the end of January.
Thus, the journey begins for the benefit, the place where the ripe cherry is transformed into the roasted grain. From its harvest, it is emptied into a tank where it is washed and, by hand, the heaviest grain is selected, which is considered first, then it is pulped and passes to the fermentation tanks where it remains for approximately 36 hours. Once fermented, the grain is dried in the patios of the farm, which did not manage to dry in the sun, and goes through the dryer that works with firewood. From there it goes to the descaling process. Then comes a third selection and, finally, it is roasted and packed for export to various European countries.
In front of the big house, where the Edelmans have lived since they arrived at the farm, is the museum. It is a small room with a wooden floor where the old cable car, installed in 1939, was used to transport the coffee through a 2 km steel cable. long. There are, also adders, typewriters, bag sewing machines, nursing utensils, checkbooks, mills, and coffee packing machines, all brought from Germany around 1905.
At dusk, the night show is sublime, the sky is full of stars and little by little fireflies, beetles, moths, and a whole set of insects begin to appear, from the strongest to the most colorful and exotic, which, like I, enjoy the night in all its splendor.
Coffee plantation Ireland
As soon as the sun begins to appear and the sky is painted red, it is time to leave for Finca Irlanda, located at 1,200 meters above sea level, 62 km from Tapachula. It gives walkers a tour of biodynamic and organic coffee plantations, as well as an aviary with endangered species, such as the quetzal, which for the first time has been reproduced in captivity.
The origin of the farm dates back to 1920, when the Peters family bought it from a man of Irish origin at the end of the 19th century, in 1890. There, Mr. Walter Peters awaits us, a member of the fourth family generation to grow this coffee. It smells of grass wet from the night rain and the insects continue their morning concert, the wind is fresh and smells of fresh coffee.
The coffee farm Ireland, was a pioneer in Chiapas, in producing organic coffee and in being recognized, for its quality, by the German certifier Demeter Bund. There are 800 hectares, of which 270 are planted with coffee plantations, and 300 hectares, are preserved as a natural reserve where all kinds of timber and fruit trees can be seen. There have been counted up to 236 species of endemic and migratory birds, amphibians, and reptiles. They also inhabit white-tailed deer, tapirs, boars, skunks, red-tail foxes, parakeets, and even pumas.
We started the trip for the benefit, where Guatemalan men and women work in their selection. The process is the same: washing, pulping, fermentation, drying, peeling or descaling, selection, and roasting. The coffee grown here is of the Robusta species and its production is organic and ecological, of sustainable type. The difference, with another type of grain, is that the fermentation time must be more careful, not to overdo it and make it acidic. Its cultivation, also is different, to be able to sow the seed in the nurseries, first, it must prepare the earth with vermicompost, where the red worm californiana degrades the organic waste until giving him the best nutrients so that the coffee grows healthy.
Afterward, we enter a small wooden room, the women select the best coffee by hand to pack it and export it to Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and Japan. On the farm, chayote, cardamom, cocoa, and organic honey are also produced, all of them by hand.
Later on, Don Walter, the current owner of the farm, shows the species that are protected here: toucans, peacocks, snatches, and even a quetzal that was brought for protection and care 12 years ago. It is not a zoo but a shelter for its protection, study, conservation, and reproduction.
Throughout the tour, the wild orchids that grow on the trees, and perfume the atmosphere with their aroma, are a delight. There are also giant ferns, exotic flowers, and plants with the strangest forms.
Coffee plantation Chiripa
It is located 900 meters above sea level, on a natural fault that forms an island in the heart of the Cuilco River, where its bed opens in two arms to leave more than two hectares of land in the middle of dense vegetation. It is one of the few that still has its Maragogipe coffee plantation, which has been cultivated on this site since 1930 in an area of 20 hectares of tropical humid forest.
Here diverse sports are practiced for the lovers of the adventure, it is in the Cuilco River where a zip line of 350 meters in length extends on its channel. You can also cross the bridge hammock to admire the whimsical shapes of rocks that stand out everywhere.
This place is the favorite of the adventurers to camp while they talk in the light of the moon and because it allows them to dive in the river when the time allows it, they can also do zip line on its course.
Coffee plantation Argovia
The next morning, we travel to Argovia, located 42 km from Tapachula, in the middle of the heart of a tropical forest, protected by majestic mountains.
Its origins go back to 1880, when a Swiss family, originally from the Aargau canton, founded it and gave it its current name. And it was, at the end of the 19th century when it was acquired by Mr. Adolf Geiseman, and today, it is managed by the fourth generation of the family.
Travelers can experience four generations of coffee farmers working under the concept of sustainable agriculture, diversification, and respect for the environment, as well as tours of exotic flower nurseries and bird watching.
The variety that is cultivated is the Arabica and using grafting the robust species with the Arabica, the grape coffee is created, which is ready to be cut after eight months. You will know from the pisca, which is to collect the fruit of the plant that can be Arab or robust, until the roasting of the grain that defines its flavor. The production and cultivation are also organic and sustainable that go through the best quality standards worldwide.
After touring the wet and dry benefit, we started a walk through the nurseries where exotic flowers such as anthuriums, red torches, elephant legs, and a wide variety of exotic plants were brought from Europe and Africa for reproduction are cultivated. After the fall in coffee prices, Aargau also became a hotel, opened its doors in the year 2000, and is now recognized throughout the world.
Where to sleep in Chiapas
The coffee farms Hamburg, Ireland, and Aargau have lodging services.
Finca Hamburgo 9th. East esq. 11 North No. 54-A, center col, Tapachula Chiapas. Telephone: (962) 62 67 578 and (962) 62 66 404..
Finca Irlanda T. (962) 625 9203 and 642 5475.
Finca Argovia. Carretera Nueva Alemania Km 39 + 2 30700, Tapachula, Chiapas. Phone: (962) 692 3051.
What to buy in Chiapas
Each of the coffee plantations has coffee beans or ground coffee for sale. You can also buy various products made from coffee such as liquor, sauces, and roasted beans with chocolate. In addition, mango, carambola, papaya, and organic honey are made on the farms. Another suggestion is to buy accessories made with coffee beans.
Did you know?
Coffee was discovered in Ethiopia around the ninth century when a shepherd realized that his flock of goats was exalted after eating a small red fruit, then decided to try it, and soon, he was euphoric. Little by little he began to conquer territory in the world as a delicious aromatic drink in Europe and arrived in Italy in 1645. Then the pastor is informed by an Abbot of a nearby temple, who gives his monks a drink of the monks. From then on, he began to gain fame in the old world. However, the Europeans tried to cultivate it uselessly, until it arrived in America, aboard the boats that exchanged exotic goods, it was on this continent where it found the propitious climate for its reproduction. Coffee was grown in Chiapas in 1820.