The air is cool and refreshing in Coatepec. Residents call their town the capital mundial del café (coffee capital of the world), as the climate is perfect for growing the sought-after altura pluma (mountain-grown) coffee. You'll see bushes with bright red berries on every available scrap of land. The heady scent of roasting beans wafts across the main square. Locals are so immersed in coffee culture that many swear they can distinguish a cup made with beans from Coatepac from one made with beans grown in nearby Xico.

Coatepec, from the Nahuatl phrase Coátl-Tepetl-C ("in snake hill"), was founded as a villa in 1848, officially became a city in 1886, and grew during the coffee boom years of the early 20th century. The mansions along its elegant streets are pinned with ornate balconies; take a peek inside and you'll see gorgeous courtyards overflowing with greenery.

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