One 12 oz. compostable Biotre bag.
When visiting with Jesús Salazar in February of 2017 (towards the middle-end of the harvest season), he was kind enough to take us to two different municipalities just outside of San Cristóbal de las Casas so that we could meet and visit with the growers of the coffees we were cupping each evening. Driving out of San Cristóbal and into the rural mountains of Chiapas will forever be a memorable experience. As you leave the grid of tightly packed roads in the city center, the world opens up to a winding roller coaster through the countryside. Continue traversing deeper, and the pavement turns to dirt as you become more and more encompassed by the lush green mountains. The landscape becomes very magical and mystical when you get closer to the clouds. At nearly 2000 meters above sea level there are no large cities or loud noises. On the contrary, there are only small, quiet villages overlooking vast valleys of greenery. Within each village we visited we were able to directly observe and hear explanations surrounding each farmers’ different growing, processing, and drying practices that made their coffees unique.
We are extremely excited and honored to be sharing what we have selected - all of which are from the exact same village of San Pedro. With some help from Walker Coffee Trading, we were able to import these coffees to the United States for the first time ever. We will be highlighting four different farmers over the next few months, beginning with the oldest and best dressed of them all, Víctor López. Jesús met Don Víctor 6 years ago when he, Jesús, had begun learning to roast at a cooperative designed to teach farmers more about the roasted product. This is where many of the relationships from this group of farmers in Aldama were formed. Although the coffees were initially not very clean and exhibited high moisture contents, Jesús recognized the potential for quality in the flavor Víctor’s coffee. Thus, he was invited to join the group that Jesús had begun helping - with the goal of slowly improving processing and drying practices to perfect the coffees and break into better markets.
One of the most important changes introduced was requesting that Victor hull and sort the green coffee himself before sending it to their warehouse. This is a big step and a challenge for people that have been selling parchment for decades. As Jesús explained, “My intuition was: they won't understand green coffee quality and how it is connected to their plantation until they hull and sort their own coffee. So we helped them to get a huller and every year we held workshops with their families to train them to hand sort. This is also extra work and they are well paid for it.” Since then, every grower has continued to learn more and more each year about the healthiness, yield, and quality of their farms. They’ve become connected more than ever to their crops and have begun to understand the importance of picking and post harvest processing. Don Víctor is a prime example of someone running a quality focused coffee operation. He ferments in two tile-lined concrete tanks and spreads the coffee across a handful of concrete patios to dry, both on his roof and next to his home. He only processes via the washed method, for he believes that this is the only way to achieve the best clarity of flavor in his coffee. We have to agree with him - this is some of the cleanest and most delicate coffee we have ever tasted from Mexico. A light-ish body lets a gentle fruit acidity shine, reminiscent of crisp pears and apples. Nonetheless, the flavor profile is still deeply grounded with a rich, candybar-like sweetness - think milk chocolate, nougat, and caramel. Víctor López’s coffee is wonderfully balanced and a joy to drink.