About the coffee
This washed coffee has a profile similar to some of the coffees we have purchased from producers just across the border in Huehuetenango, with crisp apple acidity backed up by a deep sweetness.
Green apple, Toffee and Black tea.
Creating a community
Cafeólogo is a project by Jesús Salazar, focussing mainly on indigenous coffee growers in the area around San Cristobal de las Casas in central Chiapas, the southernmost region of Mexico. San Cristobal is located rather close to the border with Guatemala, and is in fact only around 200 km or about a 5 hour drive from San Marcos Huista in Huehuetenango, where we have purchased several coffees in the past, including from Ana Ramirez. Starting in 2010, Jesús initially worked with 4 small producers in order to supply his own roastery. One of these producers, Pedro Vasquez, told Jesús that he had spoken with many producers who were interested in working this way, creating high quality lots to sell to international buyers at better prices. One of the main challenge of this was working together with very different groups of people in this very diverse region. Rural Chiapas, like Huehuetenango, is mainly inhabited by descendants of Mayan peoples, but even within these communities there are deep cultural divides, often based on political ideologies. Creating a community space where these people can meet on the same level, gathering around a common goal, has been one of the most rewarding parts of Cafeólogo’s work. Jesús’ team have had to learn the local Mayan dialects, and only through this are they able to work directly to improve conditions for these producers by creating added value microlots. The wider industry here limits these producers’ access to knowledge, education, investment, and to the wider coffee market, effectively limiting their horizons and perpetuating a neo-colonial coffee chain. Cafeólogo feel that this area has a great potential, and the producers here have everything the need to create sustainable businesses in the coffee market, if only they are given access to it. Providing this access is Cafeólogo’s goal, alongside creating a gathering space for the community.
Initially Cafeologo worked with a small number producers in the San Pedro area, buying their processed parchment coffee. However, as the project started to grow, Jesus realised that quality controlling all of these farmers’ work was going to be very difficult for the project, and would limit the number of producers they could work with. They therefore took the decision to buy coffee from the producers as ripe cherry, and undertake all of the processing at Beneficios Comunitario Sibactel and San Pedro, which now serve around 140 producers. For these cherries, the project pays the same price as for a high quality processed coffee, so their income is not reduced, but their cost of production and level of risk is. This also allows them to focus on the agronomical aspects of coffee production. One of the main ways to add value to coffee is through careful and innovative processing, and it was due to this that Jesús undertook his education as a Q-processor allowing him to plan and oversee the processing protocols together with members of the community. Here at San Pedro, the operation is run by Lucia and Ines Vasquez, the two daughters of Pedro, one of the initial Cafeólogo producers who we have also purchased coffee from. They organise visits to all of the producers and their parcels of land, providing support and education on topics such as coffee physiology, nutrition, pests and diseases, organic practices and quality control.
|Producer||San Pedro Farmers|
|Varietal||Caturra, Bourbon, Typica|
The washed process involves completely removing both the cherry and the mucilage from the outside of the parchment with the use of friction, fermentation and water. After being harvested, the coffee cherry is then sliced open by either a metal or a sharp plastic blade. The two seeds (also known as beans) are pushed out of the cherry, which leaves the seed with mucilage as their outermost layer. It is essential in the washed process that all mucilage is removed from the seed which leaves only the flavor that developed in the cell structure of the seed prior to processing.
About La Cabra
A focus on raw material
If we don’t feel that a coffee suits our style or what we like to present, we simply won’t buy it. Sometimes this leads to issues in green buying; we have to pay very close attention, to a level of green quality that will support this approach, and to how this will develop over the life of a coffee. We are required to focus heavily on the freshness of coffee, both green and roasted, to avoid introducing taints into our cups. We always use clean and fresh water, of an ideal mineral content to present the coffee in its best possible light. Once we have the correct roasting profile, water, and coffee age, the act of brewing is much more simple. A wide variance in brewing parameters can still produce delicious and transparent cups. It is also important to note that this is not always the most consistent approach. The coffee is laid completely bare, so any flaw with the raw material is clearly on show. We could often develop some coffees slightly more, to make them more approachable or easy to work with, but wavering from our philosophy like this would compromise our commitment to complete transparency in coffee.Read more