We’re so proud to finally offer you this coffee that we sourced last winter on our coffee buying trip to Mexico. After visiting and cupping many beans from Oaxaca and Chiapas, we selected this beautiful coffee--Organic Mexico Chiapas Tzeltal Tzotzil - Fair Trade/Direct Trade--from the high mountains of Chiapas, grown by small, family-owned, indigenous farmers organized around the Tzeltal-Tzotzil Cooperative.The Tzeltal-Tzotzil are a Maya people who came to this region as far back as 100 BCE; yet who, after the Spanish Conquest in the 1500s, suffered centuries of exile and persecution.
It wasn't until the 1980s that they regained their freedom and their land. In 1982, the first Indian mayor was elected and now native indigenous people controll 90% of their land. The Tzeltal-Tzotzil Cooperative was established in 1986 with only 19 small producers. It has now grown to almost 300 members of 25 communities in the region of Altos de Chiapas (the region with the largest population of native indigenous peoples who speak the Tzeltal and Tzotzil languages).
The objective of the cooperative is to produce coffee, honey and artisan textiles under fair conditions--while preserving the ecosystem, promoting organic agriculture and improving the lives of the people in their communities. The organization also strives to involve and promote woman to take more leadership roles in these activities.
They use indigenous coffee growing methods that both sustain the earth and produce an incredibly nuanced coffee with notes of dark chocolate, caramel and orange zest. Exceptional care is taken by producers to depulp, ferment and dry their coffee, which is aided by the use of farm-owned micro mills. Coffee farms from this organization tend to be less than ten acres in size and they have the strictest quality controls.
We not only love this coffee, but the people behind it as well. We're hoping to go back this year (and every year after) to create a stronger partnership and find ways for them to profitably use some of the byproducts of the coffee process as well. We also hope it can be a model of sustainable agriculture that respects and learns from indigenous growing methods and allows their communities to flourish. It's now available at our cafe in West Stockbridge and online for shipping to your home. Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!