Having studied administration at high school, Berenice Cortés turned away from following a career in her field of study after taking inspiration from her mother, who had been working with coffee for many years.
“At first I did not know what she was doing at work but when I saw her speak about coffee with great enthusiasm, my curiosity grew, so one day I asked her to tell me everything she knows about coffee. It was from there that my adventure in the world of coffee began.”
Oaxaca may be known for its incredible culinary scene, but it is also one of the coffee growing regions within Mexico. The country’s reputation for high-quality specialty coffee is gaining a lot of attention.
Bernice tells me how she is able to be the connection between the farmers and her customers in the cafe by visiting the coffee farms in her state. She wants the people she serves every day to understand how much hard work goes into producing specialty coffee.
“Our work as baristas is an important link in the coffee chain because we transmit the love and dedication of the producers.”
The local farms around Berenice have started experimenting with high-quality coffee varietals like ‘Gesha’, as well as using all available processing methods (washed, honey and naturals) to enhance the natural flavours of the beans.
Berenice says that you can expect to find very different flavour profiles of the beans depending on what region of Mexico the coffee is grown.
“For example in Oaxaca, I find floral, fruity, chocolate, and almond flavours from the beans harvested from my local estates.”
The passion that Berenice has for Mexican coffee has led her to consider the prospect of entering barista competitions, helping raise the profile of her home country within the specialty coffee market.
“I would like to enter barista competitions in the future. I have to be prepared to enter the world for coffee, and I like the idea of competing.
“I feel that I am more prepared at this moment as I have so much information about the types of coffee around me, as well as learning about extraction and how to roast”
We really hope to see Berenice compete in the near future, once the world has gained a bit of normality.
Like many other baristas, Berenice is finding that the pandemic has made things a lot more uncertain for her and the cafe she works in, but feels that focusing on building her knowledge will put her in a good position to advance quickly within her local coffee community.
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