Varietal(s): Typica, Bourbon, Mundo Novo
Processing: Fully washed & dried on patios
Altitude: 1,000 to 1,900 metres above sea level
Owner: 200 small holder farmers (Café Sierra Azul coop)
Region: Siltepec, Chiapas
Cupping Notes : hazelnut, pecan, walnut
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Café Sierra Azul is a relatively small cooperative within Southern Mexico’s El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve. Named for the blue hue of the tree-covered mountains of the Reserve , Sierra Azul is relatively new, but it has already achieved a wide array of organic certifications (including EU and NOP) and Fair Trade certification, and has begun exporting their coffee around the world. This was the aim : helping small producers reach speciality coffee and more direct markets for their coffee, rather than having to sell their coffee to middle men at very low prices.
Siltepec, Chiapas has all the makings of an excellent coffee origin, with plentiful water, fertile soil and high altitudes. Each small holder member processes and dries his/her own coffee, so the greatest care is taken in providing farmer training in all aspects of coffee production. Coffee is harvested by hand. Each producer has her/his own wet mill. Some coffee plots are remote and difficult to access without roads, often. Yet, coffee is always pulped on the same day that it is picked and is then fermented in tanks for about 24 hours. The day after, the coffee is fully washed to remove all traces of mucilage.
Sierra Azul continues betting on traditional varieties. Seedlings are grown using the very best cherries from each harvest, which are set aside to ensure the next generation. Renovation activities are crucial to long term sustainability.
Café Azul’s mission goes beyond great coffee. Some 60% of the organisation’s members are young men, many of whom earned the money they used to start their farms by working illegally in the United States. By making it possible to a make a living off of a small farm, the cooperative is keeping families together and helping communities to thrive.
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