Peru, Sol Y Cafe

http://www.solcafe.com.pe/ 

 Founded in 2008

Comprised of 1020 members

San Ignacio, Jaen and Cajamarca

Organic; FLO; SPP

900 – 2050 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Bourbon, Typica, Caturra

Catuai, Pacche, Mondonovo

Medium acidity, full body, dried raisin, dark cocao and red fruits

Sol y Café was founded in 2005, with support from the Caritas Jaen technical team. They quickly moved to acquire the necessary organic and sustainable trading certificates to sell into North America and Europe and grew from their initial 27 clusters of producer base groups to more than 60 producer associations bringing together some 1,000 farmer families. They continue to share an office space in the Caritas complex in Jaen, where they maintain a small warehouse and quality control lab.  Sol y Café has followed a steady growth plan, sticking to clear and strictly applied membership criteria. Members are expected to actively participate in the development of their cooperative and to contribute to its growth, by bringing in at least 51% of their estimated harvest.  Producers requesting membership into the coop need the visto bueno of existing members within that particular community. Or, if the applicant comes from a community not yet associated to Sol y Café, he or she will be visited by the producer board of directors president, to assure that the candidate comes with the intentions of becoming a contributing cooperative member and dedicated to producing high-quality, organic coffee.  Their strict criteria seem to be paying off. Sol y Café achieves export levels around 80% of their total collective harvest; and members show regularly as top finishers in quality competitions held nationally and abroad. Classic Sol y Café cupping notes include: jasmine floral fragrances, sweet tropical fruit, honey vanilla and caramel flavors, balanced with crisp acidity and a creamy, full body.  In order to support their members in production yields, Sol y Café has proactively supported field experimentation that demonstrates, after a three-year transition process, volumes doubling with totals up to 40qq per hectare. Sol y Cafe is now implementing a 300-hectare renovation plan with all members, in order to replicate those production levels more broadly across their zone of influence.  We began importing from Sol y Café only a few short seasons ago. However, due to the excellent communication, coffee quality and services to their members, Sol y Café has quickly become a solid and integral member of the Coop Coffees producer partner network.  

Peru, CENFROCAFE

Founded in 1999

Comprised of 2000 members

San Ignacio, Jaen, Cajamarca regions      

Organic; FLO

1000 – 1900 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Bourbon, Typica, Caturra

Crisp acidity, medium body w/ milk chocolate, dried fruits, honey and caramel flavors

CENFROCAFE was founded in 1999 with 220 small-scale coffee farmers in eleven community-based associations. Nearly fifteen years after their founding, CENFROCAFE, now based out of Jaen, serves more than 2,000 farmer members in local associations spanning across twelve districts within the lush Cajamarca region.  From technical assistance and quality control workshops for their farmers, to economic and leadership training for the young people in their rural communities, CENFROCAFE works not only to support the commercial endeavors of its members – but also to facilitate the development of their communities as a whole. The CENFROCAFE financial team provides short-term credit that help farmers cover the front-end costs of the harvest and materials in the coffee production.  CENFROCAFE is one of the leaders in creating a cooperative alliance with like-minded associations in the greater Cajamarca region to provide important technical and marketing services to thousands of small-scale farmers in Northern Peru. Without this kind of strong organization, local farmers would have otherwise been left each to his or her own devices to develop best practices for healthy fields and increased production yields, or for the marketing and sales of their coffee.  Results to date are impressive. On average, CENFROCAFE producers yield 20qq (100lb sacks of parchment) of organic coffee per hectare, and often show in the top finalists in national and international quality competitions. The improved revenue for CENFROCAFE farmers has been instrumental for their access to basic health, education, and other social services.  CENFROCAFE founding member and former president of the producer Board of Directors, Anselmo Huaman Moreto, explains: “A huge difference in our lives is that now our children can actually go to school, our coffee is being recognized in the market for the quality we produce, we are receiving a fair price for our efforts, and our members can be proud again to be farmers.”  We began importing from CENFROCAFE in 2005. Since then, our relationship with this cooperative has flourished both in coffee purchases – with more than 2 million pounds direct purchased — as well as roaster efforts to support their production and quality improvement initiatives.  

Nicaragua, CECOCAFEN

Founded in 1999

Comprised of 2600 members

Matagalpa and surrounding regions

Organic; FLO; SPP

900 – 1500 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Bourbon, Typica, Caturra

Crisp acidity, medium body w/ milk chocolate, dried fruits, honey and caramel flavors

CECOCAFEN, the Central Association of Northern Coffee Cooperatives, was founded in 1997 with initial investments from their 500 producer members and financing support from international lending organizations in order to export their first containers. Today, CECOCAFEN represents some 2,600 farmer families in twelve community based cooperatives, with more than 100 container-loads of coffee exports per year.  As a unique umbrella organization in the region, CECOCAFEN’s raison d’être is to support members’ production capacity and to promote and sell its members’ coffee in direct and fair trade export contracts to these coveted international niche markets.  CECOCAFEN, with their expert quality control staff in the SolCafé processing plant and cupping lab, offers producer members quality assessments and advice for continual improvements to production and processing practices. With producing communities located in the mountains of Matagalpa, Jinotega and Las Segovias, renowned for rich volcanic soils, high altitudes, and a humid tropical climate – CECOCAFEN members are well positioned to produce consistently high-quality coffees with unique flavor profiles from each of the regions.  Over the course of our 12-year relationship with CECOCAFEN and its cooperative members, we have witnessed the growth and development of their organization. We have worked together to: organize some of our initial region-wide producer and roaster exchange events; source special profile coffee lots to meet our members’ needs; and support each other through the ever-changing landscape of specialty, organic and fair trade markets.  In addition to the smooth operations that have put more than 2.6 million pounds of coffee on the water and eventually to Coop Coffees roasters’ docks, CECOCAFEN has successfully supported local development of their communities through eco-tourism initiatives, a micro-lending program for women entrepreneurs, youth education scholarships from primary up to university levels and many social and cultural activities.  The foundation of their operational success rests upon staying focused on three basic elements: producing a quality coffee; establishing programs for ecological practices; and offering equitable opportunities for integrated development of their members’ communities. During visits to the region, we consistently witness these elements reinforcing each other in the field.  

Mexico, Yachil

Founded in 2001

Comprised of 800 members

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

Organic    1000-1300 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Bourbon, Caturra,

Typica    Medium acidity, medium body w/ dried cherry fruit notes and chocolate finish

Yachil Xojobal Chu’lchan, which means “new light in the sky” in the Tzeltal language, was founded in 2001 with an initial 383 small-scale coffee farmer members from the Tzotzil and Tzeltal Mayan indigenous communities in the municipalities of Chilon, Pantelho and San Juan Cancuc. A defining characteristic of Yachil membership is their progressive, political position of solidarity with the Zapatista movement, struggling for autonomy and respect for Indigenous rights.  Coffee is one of the few viable export options for small-scale farmers in Chiapas, and in particular for Yachil farmers, who do not accept any financial support from the Mexican government. The sale of their coffee is their primary source of income.  Yachil exported its first lot of coffee to solidarity buyers in Germany in 2003, and their first organic certified lots to Coop Coffees roasters in Canada and the USA in 2005. Since then, Yachil has worked hard to expand its volumes and sales in both solidarity and gourmet markets across Europe and in North America.  Today, Yachil is comprised of some 800 members in eight municipalities ( Pantelhó, San Juan Cancuc, Chenalhó, Tenejapa, Chalchihuitán, Aldama (Magdalena de La Paz), Simojovel (16 de Febrero) and El Bosque (San Juan de La Libertad) across Chiapas, with annual exports of more than 130 tons of high quality, green coffee.  With the profits from their sales, Yachil members have invested in improving the individual wet processing equipment in their communities, constructing a central warehouse to assure safer storage of parchment coffee prior to export, providing on-going technical workshops to members in organic practices and organizational leadership, and in trainings for the rotating Yachil producer Board of Directors in topics such as: basic accounting, cooperative administration and export, as well as improving their understanding of all necessary steps to assure consistent quality control and improvement.  Despite their many accomplishments, Yachil farmers continue to live under a cloak of uncertainty. Members of this cooperative have formed their own local Indigenous governments, supporting development in keeping with their values and traditions, and promoting democracy, equality, and empowerment. Over the last decade of resistance, members of Yachil have suffered repression at the hands of government security forces and the paramilitary. Many members and their families have been forced to flee their communities and continue to live as internal refugees, victims of political oppression and intimidation.  

Honduras, COMSA

http://www.cafeorganicomarcala.net/ 

Founded in 2001

Comprised of 620 members

Marcala, Honduras

Organic; FLO; SPP

1200-1600 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Catuai, Caturra, Lempira, Pacas

Citric acidity, medium body, honey, mango and bitter chocolate flavors

Café Orgánico Marcala (COMSA) was founded in December of 2001 with a vision of creating new and alternative development opportunities for small-scale coffee farmers in the region. The organization originally brought together 69 small-scale farmers of Lenca origin who were interested in selling their coffee collectively under the umbrella of a rural credit union.  At that time, the predominant production system in the region used conventional (chemical) practices and sold to the local coyotes, often at prices that did not even cover their production costs. One of the primary founding objectives of COMSA was to seek out and promote new ways of thinking – both in production, moving from conventional to organic production; and in markets, moving from commercial to specialty buyers.  In the beginning the challenges were enormous, as transitioning from conventional to organic practices can cause dramatic drops in production yields. Many members became discouraged and dropped out of the organization. In response, the COMSA BoD and technical team looked for new methods of intensive organics to support their transition and established a strategic alliance with the Corporación Educativa para el Desarrollo Costarricense – CEDECO.  With CEDECO’s support, staff and members of COMSA learned new and innovative practices to transform their lands into integrated organic farms – promoting soil and water conservation, and the preservation of local plant and wildlife. Meanwhile, members began to see improvements in coffee yields, better family relationships and rapid growth in membership for COMSA.  With their initial successes, members became more and more open to experimentation with innovative organic practices. Their organic evolution is as follows: 2001 – use of organic materials, 2006 – application of micro-organisms in compost; 2010 -exploring the use of minerals; 2012 – production of fermented live solutions; 2013 – strengthening the grey matter (brainpower) of their technical team, members and strong educational program with their youth and women’s groups.  Last season COMSA exported some 53,000qq (140 containers) of high quality green coffee, with the unique regional characteristics of Marcala: medium body and pronounced acidity, and nuances of floral, lemongrass, peach, wild berries, etc. This coming harvest, COMSA expects exports to approach 100,000qq (240,000).  In order to assure best quality control, COMSA now manages their own wet and dry processing plants and are organic certified with Biolatina and export under FLO, SPP, Denominación de Origen Marcala (DOP) and UTZ.   

Mexico, Maya Vinic

http://www.mayavinic.com/ 

Founded in 1999

Comprised of 500 members

The highlands of Chiapas (Acteal)

Organic; FLO

900-1400 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Typica, Caturra,

Mundo Novo, Bourbon    Citric acidity, medium body, milk chocolate, almond, honey flavors

The Cooperative “Producers’ Union Maya Vinic” is comprised of some 500 coffee farming families located in 38 highland communities in the municipalities of Chenalhó, Pantelhó and Chalchihuitán, in Chiapas, Mexico. Each member has on average one hectare of coffee and produces about 400 kilos annually. Inspired by the traditions of their ancestors, Maya Vinic operates with a respect for local language and culture, and a reverence for Mother Earth and traditional forms of self government.  The founding members of Maya Vinic come out of the base organization “Las Abejas” – a network of Liberation Theology catechists in the region. They envisioned the cooperative in the aftermath of the 1997 Acteal massacre, where 45 of their members were caught in the political cross-fire of the era. The day of their funeral, survivors and sympathizers arrived each carrying a brick – which would be used to build a mausoleum to commemorate their dead. Yet it wasn’t until three years later, with the birth of Maya Vinic that they were able to create the foundation for new life in the community.  The founding members worked hard: organizing, training, reclaiming the land, composting, pruning, communicating… both to locals for support and externally for a fair market – all looking for a better alternative to the life they had just come from.  Striving to offer a consistently high-quality coffee, raised with care and respect for their natural resources — the coop offers their producer members regular educational and capacity-building activities focused on sustainable farming techniques and the importance of a strong social economy. Maya Vinic in the cup has a classic Chiapas profile, with medium body, bright acidity and balanced with sweet, deep flavors of caramel, dark chocolate and spices… and a hint of fruit.  As a collective initiative to improve the living situations of their farmers, Maya Vinic understands that in addition to producing great coffee for our roaster members, they must also provide even greater economic benefit to their producers. They strive constantly to support dignified livelihoods and living conditions through the production and marketing of their green coffee as well as roasted coffee sales across Mexico and through their producer managed coffee-shop located in San Cristobal de Las Casas.  Coop Coffees purchased the first Maya Vinic coffee to be exported under fair trade terms in 2002. Now some 12 years later, we celebrate one of our longest standing relationships anticipating the landing of our 1.5 millionth pound of coffee from them this season.  

El Salvador, Las Marias

Founded in 1993

Comprised of 63 members

Canton Las Marias, Usulutan

Organic; FLO

600-900 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Bourbon, Pacas

 Mild acidity, full body w/ earthy, spice and cocoa flavors

Las Marias 93 is one of the positive and constructive results of the negotiated 1992 Chapultepec Peace Accords – ending decades of brutal civil war in El Salvador. As a part of these accords, this group of former combatants was able to purchase a piece of land in 1993 and Las Maria 93 cooperative was formed to help their communities move beyond their turbulent past. With a commitment to organic and sustainable farming, today 39 of their members are included in the Organic Program. The remaining members do not use chemicals in their production, but have not yet been organic certified. Their objective is to include all members in intensive organic practices.  Las Marias 93 facilities include an ecological wet processor, drying patios and an industrial dry processor. They have also installed “eco-depulping machines” – which have reduced their water consumption from 124 gallons to 38 gallons per quintal and has reduced their electrical consumption by half; created a central organic compost production site; and maintain a nursery with a growing capacity of up to 25,000 coffee trees. The trees were purchased by the National Coffee Council to be distributed to coffee growers across the country as a program to revitalize productivity in El Salvador.  They now have a permanent Internet access in their office and have set up a cyber café, thanks to funds they have earned via a long-standing exchange and delegation-hosting program they have established with a college in Washington D.C. The cyber café is run by a youth group organized within the coop, and is working with the local school and receive groups of students for training throughout the week. Las Marias 93 is also developing a rural tourism project and attempting to create a living history museum focused on the region, the Civil War and the 1992 Peace Accords. As part of another community and income diversification project, Las Marias 93 has also developed a solid, local roasted coffee market and has opened a roadside coffee shop / snack counter that is gaining popularity.  Yet despite their impressive accomplishments, Las Marias 93 has been one of the most hard-hit organizations within our producer network by the dreaded leaf rust that has swept through the region. Las Marias 93 General Manager Porfirio Diaz estimates that up to 80 percent of all production has been damaged by the fungus and the entire organization is in an intensive 5-year recovery plan. In the meantime, what little production they have in the coming harvest, is being dedicated to maintain their local roasted coffee sales.  We imported our first container from Las Marias 93 in 2009. And although the cooperative will most like not have exportable production for the next year or two, we will stay in communication to help in any way possible their recovery. Stay tuned, as we track their field renovation and are able to bring their fine coffee back up to our markets!  

Colombia, Fondo Paez

Founded in 1992

Comprised of 550 members

Department of Cauca

Organic; FLO; SPP

1300-1900 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Typica, Castillo

Bright acidity, full body w/ raisin, apricot, honey blossom and brown sugar flavors

Located in the remote, highland regions of Cauca, the Paez (who also call themselves Nasa, or “the people”) is the largest indigenous group in Colombia. Fondo Paez was founded in 1992, with the primary goal of recuperating traditional agricultural knowledge and indigenous culture which had been buried by centuries of conflict and oppression.  The main cash crop of this region is still coffee. Therefore, to ensure a stable income for their members, Fondo Paez proposed a cooperative of community based coffee farmer associations. By 2000, they were sufficiently self-organized to be selling coffee through the Coffee Federation’s Specialty Coffee program. Today they are active members of the fair trade community and process, market, and export their coffee via the regional plant at ExpoCosurca, but maintain full independence in their internal decision-making process. They are governed democratically with final decision-making powers at the general assembly of member delegates, and the day to day work distributed between the producer board of directors and production, organizational, internal credit and external marketing committees run by the members themselves.  Quality control is an art unto itself within Fondo Paez. Prior to their harvest, running from early June through late August in the majority of their growing regions, Fondo Paez promoters visit each member to review production results and to encourage best picking, handling and wet processing practices. Their efforts to date have definitely paid off.  Fondo Paez coffee is characterized by pungent flavors of raisin, apricot and fresh berries, honeysuckle and vanilla aromas, bright acidity and silky full body; and their coffee continues to win recognition and awards as a 90+ coffee in both local and international cupping competitions.  But that is not to say that the path is clear for Fondo Paez farmers. Climate change increasingly wreaks havoc on their harvests, with unseasonable rains, heat waves and, as in so much of Latin America, severe leaf rust, also known as the dreaded roya. Fondo Paez suffered the brunt of this infestation some four years ago. But their members are only now coming back with full production levels. In the meantime, these have been challenging years. Many families have depended upon other crops and products such as corn, potatoes, beans, a variety of root vegetables, cows’ milk and cheese, and the manufacturing of panela; a bi-product of sugar cane to complement what little coffee sales they had, while working their field renovations towards full coffee production recovery.  We began importing from Fondo Paez in 2004. Since then, we have purchased more than 2 million pounds of their fine coffee and have followed their development closely – both with site visits and regular communication, as well as offering roaster and staff support as they worked through a very tough time with their production and field renovation.  We are inspired to see the extent to which Fondo Paez has created a sustainable vision for their indigenous communities. This is remarkable in and of itself, but the work and successes of this organization are truly extraordinary when viewed within the context of Colombian politics and globalization. From Spanish conquest centuries ago to the armed conflict raging in their territory for the past 40 years, the Paez people continue to struggle for their lives and livelihoods, their land, and their rights to self-determination.  

Bolivia, Cooperativa Mejillones

http://www.fecafeb.com/   

Founded in 1988

Comprised of 85 members

Calama, Caranavi

Organic; FLO; SPP

1350 – 1700 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Typica, Caturra

Medium acidity, full body, cocao, sweet almond and ripe berry flavors

The Mejillones cooperative was founded May 8, 1988 when the original 20 farmer members came together to promote organic practices and quality coffee production in the region. Today with 85 members, Mejillones is well positioned to sell into national and international fair trade and organic markets – now with an average annual production level of some 3,750,000 pounds of exportable, green coffee.  Quality improvement and control has been a cornerstone in Mejillones development. Mejillones Commercial Manager Marcial Huanca is certified as a Q-grader and has judged at Cup of Excellence and Cup of Fair Trade competitions previously held in Bolivia. He has actively promoted internal competitions at Mejillones in order to promote best practices and internal learning amongst members.  Their efforts have paid off. With dark fruit, fig and dark chocolate flavors, sweet and pleasant acidity and a thick, creamy body, the Mejillones’ classic cup profile tends to be a top finisher in national competitions  Given that the Caranavi region underwent a relatively recent land reform – farmers here have relatively large plots. On average, Mejillones producers own 4-8 hectares of land, with much of that dedicated to coffee. Wet processing is done individually on site. And once the coffee parchment has been fully sun-dried on patios, the producers will bring their sacks to the Mejillones central warehouse in Calama. When a container load is ready for processing, a truck is dispatched to transport the parchment coffee to the Mejillones dry processing plant in El Alto, La Paz.  Nearly 90 percent of Fair Trade premiums earned at Mejillones have been invested in the purchase and maintenance of this plant in El Alto, further enhancing both their organizational autonomy and their quality control. Now with proven quality, and with Fair Trade and Small-Farmer Symbol certifications, Mejillones is well positioned to sell into specialty and fair trade markets alike.  The remaining 10 percent of Fair Trade premiums goes towards the purchase of organic components and for education and training going towards Mejillones members’ composting and soil management regimes.  Our partnership with Mejillones began only a few short years ago. But we are encouraged and enthusiastically looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship into the future!   

Guatemala, Rio Azul

Founded in 1967

Comprised of 210 members

Jacaltenango, Huehuetenango       

Organic; FLO

 1500-1800 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Typica, Bourbon, Caturra,Márago

Bright acidity, full body, w/ dark chocolate,  sweet berry and citric flavors

Located in the remote western Guatemalan town of Jacaltenango, Coop Rio Azul has 210 members, 43 of whom are women. All members of the cooperative are of the Mayan group Jacaltec, also commonly called Pobp’ al Ti’ or Popti people. Founded in 1967, the cooperative has a long history of producing some of the best coffee exported under the famed “Huehuetenango” mark.  The members of Rio Azul all live no more than a 1.5 hour walk to the wet mill in Jacaltenango. This allows the cooperative complete control over several stages of the quality process. Coffee is picked by members until early afternoon and then delivered in cherry form to the mill each afternoon. The coffee is de-pulped, fermented and washed at the centralized wet-mill and then spread out to sun-dry on the adjacent patios. The parchment is stored in their warehouse awaiting export. As the shipping day approaches the coffee is transferred to Guatemala City for final processing and export preparation in an organic dry mill.  Due to the careful attention given each step of the way – from farmer to final processing – and the excellent growing conditions in this area, Rio Azul coffee comes in consistently pungent dark chocolate aromas, sweet, citric acidity and a long, lingering finish of delicately balanced flavors.  Rio Azul farmers work hard to maintain these high standards. Collectively – they strive to become more financially sustainable and self-sufficient as a cooperative and to provide members with greater technical assistance to improve yields and improve coffee and shade tree management.  Coop Coffee first “discovered” Rio Azul following a roaster / producer exchange in Quetzaltenango in 2005. Timing was perfect as Rio Azul was undergoing its own organizational restructuring and looking for commercial clients interested in trading fair and direct. We imported our first container of Rio Azul coffee in 2006 and have been savoring our allocated, annual container-loads of their fine coffee ever since!  

Guatemala, Asociación Chajulense

Comprised of 1518 members

Ixil triangle and Chucutumanes, Northern Quiché

Organic; FLO

1100-1800 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Caturra, Catuai, Bourbon

Sweet acidity, full body w/ cocoa, prune and red fruit flavors

The Asociación Chajulense Va’l Vaq Qujol was founded in 1988 by some 40 coffee farmers of the Chajul Triángulo Ixil region of Quiché. The organization gained legal status in 1990 and is now comprised of some 1,500 members and working in 56 communities of the Chajul, Nebaj, Cotzal and Chiantla areas.  The primary objective of Asociación Chajulense is to “promote a sustainable development model that is environmentally sound, economically feasible, fair from a social point of view and appropriate from a cultural standpoint.” But in a region where the majority of coffee farmers are ravaged by roya, this becomes a daunting task.  Coffee is their main export market and the first exports began at the end of the 80’s and the beginning of the 90’s, expanding the fair trade opportunities through the FLO registration, as well as organic certification. 90% of the members produce certified organic coffee and the remaining 10% are internally certified as producing transitional organic coffee.  In 2006, Coop Coffees purchased one of the first Asociación Chajulense containers of fair trade and organic coffee shipped to the US market. Since then we have purchased and roasted over a million pounds.  In addition to their coffee sales, the organization has marketed other products such as cardamom, cheese, honey, and handicrafts as a means to diversify their member families’ income. Asociación Chajulense is also developing “La Posada” – as en eco-lodge for tourists and their client/visitors run by members and local youth.  

Guatemala, APECAFORM

Founded in 1992, legalized 1998

Comprised of 400 members

San Marcos and Tajamulco Volcano

Organic; FLO; SPP

1000 – 1900 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Typica, Caturra, Bourbon

Bright acidity, medium body w/ milk chocolate, spice, vanilla and caramel flavors

APECAFORM (the Maya-Mam Association of Smallholder Organic Coffee Farmers) was established in 1992, with aid from the Catholic diocese in Guatemala, as part of an initiative to support the development of local, small-scale coffee farmers. Today APECAFORM is comprised of some 400 members, spread over 17 communities. APECAFORM members are 100% small-scale farmers upholding their Mayan roots, including deep respect for the land and holistic and organic farming practices, and preserving traditional culture and language. The majority of their members speak Mam, one of more than 20 languages spoken in Guatemala.  The APECAFORM office is located in Pueblo Nuevo, the most centrally located of their communities. Pueblo Nuevo is a two-hour drive to the closest commercial center, the city of San Marcos, and on average, a 2.5-hour walk from the remaining communities. Five community centers have been established across the APECAFORM region, where coffee is collected for transport to warehouse or further processing, training courses are offered to members, and planning and feedback meetings with community representatives are held. Organic promoters from the communities work with their respective farmer groups to assure that best organic agricultural practices are being implemented, quality control measures are being utilized to guarantee best final product, and that the organizational and social agreements are being respected in the communities.  In 1996, the umbrella organization Manos Campesinas was formed to handle the logistics of contracts and exporting for APECAFORM and other producer organizations in the areas of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango and Retalhuleu y Sololá, and, in 1997, was certified in the International Fairtrade Organization registry. APECAFORM was the first organization to export fair trade organic coffee under their new export organization, Manos Campesinas.  Today, with the strategic credit partnership between Root Capital, APECAFORM and fair trade importers such as Cooperative Coffees, producers continue to increase their sales of organic, fair trade coffee into international, specialty coffee markets.  Other achievements include: the purchase of land and construction of a central warehouse in Malacatan; the creation of a community fund to help finance their system of organic technicians and coordinators; and the development of on-site demonstration and experimental plots – where farmers see and learn about best production practices and test new varietals in their own geographical and climatic context before launching into renovation plans promoted from a distant laboratory.  Future projects together with Manos Campesinas include: the construction of a centralized wet processing plant in order to gain more control over the handling of the coffee and to maintain highest quality; and the development of a roasted coffee operation and a café in Quetzaltenango for direct sale to local population and the bustling tourist market, as a way of diversifying the income opportunities for their members.  

Cold Brew

COLD BREW

Grind coffee one or 2 notches courser than French Press setting. Coffee to water ratio is different from hot brewing methods.  You will use 1.66 lbs coffee to 1 gallon of water. This is same as 6.64 ounces of coffee to 1/4 gallon (one quart) of water.  Grind coffee and mix with Room temperature water into Large French Press or beverage pitcher. Stir well and allow to sit for 12-18 hours. When you are ready to decant, spoon off grounds that have remained on top of brew and discard. Use a paper filter to keep grounds out of your brew. You can pour through a brew cone with paper filter or an auto-drip brew basket with paper filter. This is now a concentrate. When pouring a glass, mix with one part water and one part ice. Store concentrate in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Pour-Over

There seems to be more methods to brew a pour-over than any other method. This may be because there are so many different shapes and materials of brew cones and paper and metal filters. Every little detail will result in a different method and final brew quality outcome. Some things remain consistent regardless of which cone and filter combo you use. Pre-heating the cone and rinsing the filter are mandatory. The style in which you pour the water over the grounds is crucial. You want to acheive a uniformity of extraction from each coffee particle and the size, shape, and material of cone and filter will require a specific jive from you in order to get a decent cup.  Experiment and good luck!


Aeropress

Incredibly simple and effective way to brew a cup of coffee (unless you'd like to make this complex. In which case, go online and into the rabbit hole of Aeropress brewing methods). Your grind setting will end up somewhere between "drip" and "fine". As always, you will need to trial different grind settings to determine which one is best. Start by inserting paper filter into unit and pouring heated water into press. this will pre-heat the press and your mug as well as rinse the paper filter. After all water drained out of press and you discarded water from mug, add 17 grams of grounds to press and tare scale with press resting on mug. Pour water over grounds slowly while rotating press to ensure complete and even saturation of grounds. Go slow! When you reach 277 grams on your scale, stop. remove from scale, place on counter top, and SLOWLY press down. Total time should be approximately 2.5 minutes.


Auto Drip

auto-drip.jpg

Auto Drip: Auto-drip is incredibly simple if you stick to the "common bits of info" list above. Keep in mind, you will need to do grind setting trials to find which setting is best for your drip brewing device. The most common issue with auto-drip brewing is the actual brewer is insufficient-unable to get the water to a proper brewing temperature or not capable of spraying the water over the entire bed of grounds consistently. There are only a few home auto-drip brewers available which actually work properly. Do an online search to learn more.

Chemex

chemex.jpg

Grind setting will be similar to "drip" (possibly a notch courser). Grind 42 grams of beans. The special Chemex paper filters, when folded, will have one side that has 3 layers of paper. This side should cover the pour spout. Place filter in position and rinse well with heated water. Slowly pour this rinse water out of spout and begin brewing. Start timer for 4 minutes. Pour 150 grams of  water evenly over grounds and lightly swirl once, ensuring full saturation of grounds. Allow to bloom and rest for approximately 40 seconds. Pour an additional 200 grams of water evenly over  bed of grounds and rest.  At 2 minutes, continue pouring remaining 350 grams of water only in the middle of the coffee bed, in a circle the size of a quarter. Your goal is a four minute brew time. You will need to experiment with the frequency in which you add water to the grounds. If pouring at the correct rate you will see the grounds in suspension for the entire brew cycle and will never see a pool of water over the grounds or dry grounds. You should not see any blonde spots or dark spots in your coffee bed, but rather an even color throughout the brew cycle. As always, you will need to discover which grind setting to use. If brew cycle is complete prior to 4 minutes, go finer on the grind to slow the total time down. If brew time is longer than 4 minutes, go courser on the grind.

French Press

french-press

Grind setting is NOT the "course" setting on grinder. Rather, half way between this setting and the "Drip" setting is where you should be. Depending on which grind setting you use, you will keep water in contact with grounds for a total time of between 4 and 6 minutes.  You will need to determine what the contact time should be based on how the brew tastes. If the coffee is weak or watery, you will need to increase the contact time. If the coffee is too strong or bitter, you will need to decrease contact time. So, start with a 5 minute contact time and go from there.

The simplest and most effective way to brew using a press pot is to first pre-heat the pot and plunger with hot water. Discard after pot is very hot. Start the timer as you pour the first bit of water over grounds. fill pot 1/3 full and swirl well to ensure all grounds are thoroughly wet. As timer reaches 40 seconds, slowly continue to fill pot while swirling (this swirling will knock down the foam/bloom that builds up). Do not fill any higher than the bottom of the pour spout on pot. Gently rest the plunger in the pot (so the screen of plunger is not making contat with grounds). SLOWLY press  but do not force the plunger down onto bed of grounds as you near the bottom. Serve the coffee promptly.