We were in Jalapa. We boarded two SUVs and headed down the road. Things got more and more rural, battered signs, cantinas and roadside taquerias, over a waterfall, through green green trees, and the mountains everywhere. We got to Coatepec, one of the big coffee towns in Veracruz where they grow shade-grown Arabica coffee. Our hotel, the Meson de Alferez, is just outside the middle of town, and I'm loving it: simple, built around a courtyard with hibiscus plants and a fountain. We walked into town, had a lechero (served here, it was a glass of steamed milk, served with a cup of espresso; you dump the espresso in the milk...yum), walked around the square -- mayonnaise corn, balloon venders, shoeshine carts -- and back for dinner. We had a tasting menu at 45, the restaurant next door. Very good mole, the cheese and corn pie was good, the pumpkin flower taco was delish.
And we had plenty of Kahlua. I'm not going to write too much about Kahlua here in the blog: Mass Bev Biz gets first dibs on that (see below). But I will say that we got Kahlua sours, kind of as a joke...and they were excellent. Kahlua, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup, garnished with fresh lime. So simple, so good, so surprising.
Today we visited El Cafe Tal, a coffee museum and coffee 'sanctuary.' Again, I'll save this, but the picture above is our host, Cuauhtemoc Apan Rohas, driving us to the sanctuary in a 1962 Dodge Power Wagon, which was excellent. Great views of the mountains, banana trees, sugar cane fields, and coffee bushes popping up everywhere. We got out and hiked around the sanctuary; like the drive, only steeper and narrower. Just great.
Tonight we go out to a cantina, drink mezcal, and have dinner...and I suspect we'll be drinking more beers out in that courtyard. I...am so ready for that.
Back to work on PA Breweries 4!!
Because you asked: the Power Wagon!
*(the trip was offered to Mass Beverage Business, they offered it to me, I'm writing a piece on Kahlua for the magazine: full disclosure).