In honor of Indigenous People’s month we would like to highlight and celebrate a fantastic new coffee out of Oaxaca, Mexico, pronounced Wha-Hocka. This single origin, Fair trade, organic bean is all about the partnerships; from how it’s grown, to the co-op that distributes it, to how we stumbled onto this amazing coffee.
Oaxaca is grown in the Southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico, an area of diversity and microclimates. Southern Mexico is influenced by mountainous terrain, varying altitudes and the proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The state of Oaxaca can be divided into several distinct microclimates (terroirs for you wine drinkers) with their own weather and vegetation patterns. This makes the region ideal for agriculture, and the production of coffee. Besides coffee, Mezcal is the largest export for this area, a smoky-tequila like liquor offen bottled with a worm! Oaxaca is also a stronghold for native corn in Mexico. They are working to preserve these native varieties.
Oaxaca represents six indigenous peoples including; Cañada, Mixtec, Papaloapan, Sierra Norte, Sierra Sur, Istmo and Costa. The indigenous languages are still spoken today along with Spanish. The Mazateca people of this region represent one of the largest indigenous linguistic groups in Oaxaca. The Zapotec people were masters of astronomy and excavation. They developed the use of adobe by 850 BC, and water irrigation by 650 BC.
The CORO (Organic Coffee Growers of Oaxaca) is a partnership with over 2500 producers. The Coro Co-op is composed of producers from several regions in Oaxaca. It provides essential services to its members, including agricultural and social programs, assistance with marketing and market access, as well as certifications and milling services. All of this is toward the goal of improving the quality of life for indigenous people by increasing family income. 44% of the growers are women owned/run farms. Mexico Oaxaca from the CORO is fully washed. This means the pulp/flesh of the coffee berry is stripped and cleaned of the bean before it is sun dried. They are growing Typica, Caturra, Catuai, Bourbon, Sarchimor, and Marsellesa varieties of coffee. Coffees from the CORO have cupping notes of dark chocolate, lemon, orange, and almond.
Another co-op, The Union de Productores Las Flores, helps very small farms. Each smallholder member owns and cultivates roughly .5 – 3 hectares. Mexico Oaxaca from Union de Productores Las Flores is wet milled by individual producers and then transported in parchment to the UPLF beneficio. The majority of La Cañada farmers, pickers, and beneficio workers still speak the indigenous language of the region. They often consolidate their coffee with “Mixteca Alta del Pacifico” to build full containers. They grow mostly Mundo Novo, Bourbon, Typica, and Criollo varieties. These coffees have cupping notes of: Butterscotch, cocoa, pink lady apple.
We recently partnered with The Notch Cyclery, in Campton NH, to custom roast an espresso for their bike shop. They carry a wide assortment of bikes, fat tires, accessories, and equipment to make “Every Ride Better”. They were interested in Oaxaca because of the vast mountain biking in the region. And that Oaxaca is a major leader in Mountain Biking tourism. We sampled different beans to find just the right roast and bean for this partnership. We love the idea of working together with The Notch Cyclery to celebrate who and where our businesses intersect.
This indigenous coffee is a fantastic espresso or brewed cup. But it has an even better story. We will be offering it for the next two weeks at the Coffee House Oaxaca for Indigenous Peoples month. But you will find it all year round at The Notch Cyclery!
Growing Altitude: 1200-1500 masl
Harvest Period: January – March
Mill Process: Washed, Sun-dried