12oz box of whole bean coffee Process method: washed Origin: Mexico Region: Sierra Madre, Chiapas Farm/Producer: Various smallholder farmers Elevation: 1200-1750 masl Variety: Bourbon, Typica, Mundo Novo Retail Price: $14/12oz. box
We've been sourcing coffee from the south of Mexico in the state of Chiapas from a couple of different cooperatives, Finca Triunfo Verde (FTV) and Campesinos Ecologicos de la Sierra Madre de Chiapas (CESMACH), since the mid-2010s. The cup quality on these has been solid year after year. Both of these commercialize their coffee through a third party, allowing them to do what they do best—produce solid coffee. There is no reason why this area can't produce great coffee! They have all the conditions such as heirloom coffee varieties (Bourbon, Typica), great altitude (1200–1750masl), and passionate coffee growers who want to produce high-quality lots. The location is extremely close to the Guatemala border and Huehuetenango.
Cafe Imports, along with the cooperatives, invested in a quality-control program. An assessment was made in different areas that impact cup quality such as: varieties, fertilization, picking, processing, and lot selection. They were already doing a great job but there are some areas that could use some tweaking. The cooperatives were extremely excited to be part of this program. The plan is to have a certified Q Grader from each cooperative and have a centralized cupping lab to aid in lot selection in order to increase the overall quality of the coffee they are producing and give feedback to the producers on their quality.
CESMACH has nearly 500 active members, and has been managed by Sixto Bonilla for the duration of our relationship so far. Sixto is very quality-focused and driven to empower his cooperative community with the tools and resources to produce better quality. We have collaborated with Sixto on several projects, and look forward to working closely with him in the future as well.
The farms of both CESMACH and the FTV are located in the buffer zone of El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, which is in the highlands of the Sierra Madre. it is one of the most diverse forest reserve areas in the world and contains Mesoamerica's largest cloud forest, as well as a protected natural environment for thousands of plant and animal species. All of the coffee produced here is shade-grown.