Pluma Hildago, about an hour up in the Sierra Madre Mountains along Highway 200 from Huatulco in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, is known as Mexico’s Coffee Town. Not to be confused with the ridiculously bad Josh Groban movie by the same name, this Coffee Town, surrounded by a dozen or more coffee plantations, is the real deal.
If you’re a serious coffee lover, it’s a perfect day trip for you. Heck, even if you’re like me and find your fuel elsewhere, you should love this place.
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Exploring Pluma Hildago, Mexico’s Coffee Town
The town square is just adorable, anchored, as are many Mexican communities, by a Catholic church. But surrounding the square is what you’ve come for – coffee shops – each one serving a slightly different blend from the various plantations that dot the mountainside here.
We were told that what makes Pluma Hildago so special is the cool mountain air at 5,000 feet as it collides with the salty warm air that flows up from the Pacific Ocean. The result is a coffee with powerful aroma and a bit of kick to it.
We learned this from Filadefo Ramirez Ordaz, a third-generation coffee grower who was born on a coffee plantation nearby. His shop is lined with pictures of his family working in the coffee bushes. Obviously very proud of his heritage, Filadefo showed us the various stages of a coffee bean roasting and then ground a fresh cup for us. He told us never to buy ground coffee. Instead, buy the beans and grind them at home just minutes before drinking it.
At least we think that’s what he was saying. His English was about a strong as our Spanish, which is limited, but we enjoyed his smile, his coffee and his community.
I was starting to tweek a bit from the intense jolt of caffeine, so I wandered across the town square and found a wonderful little quilt shop. As expected their fabric and designs focused on coffee.
Feathers in the Sky
As we explored Pluma Hildago, we were told to be alert to the sky and specifically the shape of the clouds. As the cold air from the mountains and the warm air from the ocean meet above town, the resulting clouds often form in the shape of a feather.
The Spanish word for feather is pluma. The Hildago comes from a priest who was a famous leader in Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Tip: For a fabulous coffee drinking vacation, consider Hawaii’s Big Island in November during the Kona Coffee Festival.