This is a beautifully smooth coffee. There are notes of sweet toffee and dates with a smooth finish that lingers. Lends itself extremely well to espresso & also longer drinks. Great all rounder and crowd-pleaser.
Café Sierra Azul is a relatively small cooperative that brings together just over 200 small holder farmers living within Southern Mexico’s El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve. Named for the bluish hue of the tree covered mountains of the Reserve (the sierra azul, in Spanish), the organisation’s members are unified not only in improving the livelihoods of communities across the municipality of Siltepec and beyond but also in their aim of producing the region’s best speciality coffee.
Sierra Azul is relatively new – formed only in 2010 – but it has quickly grown and achieved great things during its short life. Starting with just 37 producers, the group has now grown to 227 farmer members, has achieved a wide array of organic certifications (including EU and NOP) and Fair Trade certification, and has begun exporting their coffee around the world. Sierra Azul, first and foremost, was developed in order to help small producers reach speciality coffee and more direct markets for their coffee, enabling them to escape the cycle of selling coffee to local coyotes for very low prices.
Siltepec, Chiapas has all the makings of an excellent coffee origin, with plentiful water, fertile soil and high altitudes. Sierra Azul has made every effort to make sure that the natural potential of the landscape finds a perfect pairing on each producer’s farm. Each small holder member processes and dries his/her own coffee, so it is of the utmost importance that the greatest care is taken in providing farmer training in all aspects of coffee production. The result of the organisation’s intervention has been some of the highest yields in the region (10-12 quintals per hectare, compared to the national average of 8 quintals per hectare).
As a cooperative, Sierra Azul continues betting on traditional varieties like Typica, Mundo Novo and Bourbon. In every aspect of their work with producers, the message of quality is consistent, with the end aim of quality in the cup being made clear as the motivation at each juncture of agricultural work. In July through October, as a result of the rains, weeds begin to grow. Since all plots are managed organically, producers do weeding by hand, using a machete. Finally, from July through October members apply organic fertilisers provided by the cooperative. In addition to compost, these fertilisers are applied every 25 days during the non-harvest months.
Each producer has her/his own wet mill, for which she/he alone is responsible. The small mills usually lie 30 minutes to 3 hours from the actual coffee plantation, since many parcelas (coffee plots) are very remote and take a long time to reach, since there often isn't even a rood to facilitate access. Despite these distances, coffee is always pulped on the same day that it is picked and is then fermented in cement tanks for about 24 hours. The day after, the coffee is fully washed to remove all traces of mucilage. All water used in the pulping and processing is filtered so as to prevent water contamination, and all the remaining pulp is used as compost. Drying patios are usually small but are well-maintained.
The area in which Sierra Azul operates is highly marginalized with limited access to health, education, information technology, among others. Some of the social activities run by Sierra Azul include a Community School (E-Café or Escuela de Cafe) where courses on a variety of topics are given, mainly, to members and their children. Subjects covered include organic coffee production, beekeeping, poultry production and worm composting, among others. The organisation also monitors birds and local wildlife to encourage awareness and care for biodiversity – particularly of species at risk of extinction. The plan is to include monitoring of mammals in the near future.
Price shown per 500g