From The Skilled Hands of Mayan Communities

Farmers from the the Chiapas region bordering Guatemala holding THE BARN coffee bags


The Chiapas region shares a border with Guatemala: Breathtaking volcanoes regulate the wind and moisture flows while also offering nutritious soil. The Benefecio Comunitario Sibactel is located in the Tenejapa area. The Mayan inhabitants who live there belong to the Tseltal community which is extremely shy. Together with our coffee partner, Jesús Salazar, they put in place quality improvements: Selective picking of cherries. Training to fight coffee diseases and to improve agricultural practices.


This microlot filter coffee has flavours of wild berries, almonds and coconut milk. Complemented by a strong sweetness of molasses.


Our espresso lot has notes of pistachio, vanilla, caramel, cherry and dried fruits. The cup has a malic acidity, a creamy mouthfeel and a sweet finish.


WORKING FROM WITHIN Jesús Salazar is originally from Tuxtla, capital of the Chiapas region. He initiated his project Cafeologia in 2010. His goal was to develop a coffee-project involving Mayan communities. In 2010, he began working with 4 farmers and today he is in direct contact with 140 micro-producers. To Jesús it is essential that this project remains on a human scale "Caja a caja". To become a true partner of this community, you have to be part of it: Jesus and his team participate in religious festivals, the corn festival, and they help the community to manage all types of problems such as access to water. "We believe that empowering our coffee growers for the value they have added is a way to fundamentally change the supply chain, and support a new coffee growing culture."


A FAIR SYSTEM The farmers produce very high quality microlots, each about 10-20 bags per year on 2 hectares. Far from intensive agriculture, coffee trees grow in their gardens under the shade of endemic trees like Xalum. With so little yield, coffee is not viable for these families. Jesús' approach is to ask each farmer how much they need to live in a year. He then has to create value added coffee to pay this price. For this, the only lever is quality. Jesús is Q-processor (equivalent of the Q-Grader for processes). He brings his expertise to every farm. The coffees are not certified but are produced on the model of organic farming.


We were really excited about our coffees from Sibactel and thought about ways of passing on an extra premium back to the farmers. From each retail bag of the Filter Microlot that we sold on our webshop, we are giving back 1 EUR to the farmers. The money will be transferred to them to buy equipment to up their coffee quality further.
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