Mexico historically was a one of the main suppliers of arabica coffee for the U.S. market, though in the last decade its production has declined due to lack of investments in the coffee sector, while its consumption has largely increased. Today, Mexico is transitioning from being an important producing country to becoming a consuming country. CQI has worked with Mexico since 2003, starting with Coffee Corps (See GDA report). Some of the early work was with Manuel Diaz, who has become a prolific trainer for CQI and an independent consultant highly regarded in the industry.
CQI has done extensive work with a number of partners. Aside from the various coffee corps assignments, there was a contract from 2005-2007 with Chemonics to train organic producers in Oaxaca and Chiapas. This included organic practices, cupping, and marketing. CQI has also collaborated with several private exporters who supported early Q trainings. After 2007, we worked for several years with the Mexican government (Consejo Mexicano del Café and later AMECAFÉ) on projects ranging from Q trainings to baristas and institutional development. CQI's no executive director, David Roche was heavily involved in this and presented at a Mexico coffee industry event in 2010 that resulted in Mexico becoming one of the most successful countries using the Q program.
Mexico has certified more Q coffees than any other country. Leadership of the Mexico coffee industry changes and there is no central organization responsible, but they continue to improve quality through private companies and several organizations. There are currently 66 Q graders in Mexico. In addition, three Q Arabica Instructors plus two Q Robusta Arabica Instructors are Mexican, not to mention CQI’s Technical Director, Dr. Mario Fernández.
Mexico is the leading country in coffee agroecology research. In 2016, CQI teamed with a consortium of research centers that work in this topic - named Café In Red - led by the Institute of Ecology (INECOL) and the Center for Coffee Agroecology (CAFECOL). CAFECOL is a center that links the academia with the coffee producers and became CQI’s In Country Partber (ICP) in 2016. A joint bid was presented by the consortium to the Mexican government to do research on the coffee profiles of Mexico, but it was not accepted. However, the alliance remains and we will work together when a funding opportunity is finally found.