This past harvest we travelled through the states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Chiapas to discover a cooperative or farm to begin working with. After visiting dozens of farms and cupping countless samples the choice became clear. We would focus our efforts in Oaxaca, working with the Unecafe Cooperative—Unidad Ecológica para el Sector Café Oaxaquenó. Their coffees are certified organic, fair trade, and grown under a canopy of shade.
Unecafe was formed in 2011 and now represents a few thousand small farms throughout the six growing regions of Oaxaca. The cooperative offers a number of services to their members, including specialized technical assistance to help increase sustainability and production. In evaluating the different flavor profiles of these regions we found the Sierra Sur to produce the sweetest, fullest, and most complex coffees of Oaxaca.
The average farm is roughly two hectares in size, with responsibilities during harvest being shared by the family and community. During the harvest ripe cherries are picked, pulped, fermented, and then sun-dried on patios or on the rooftop. Once dry, the parchment is transported to Oaxaca City for evaluation and storage prior to milling and export. We sent a portion of this lot to the water-process decaffeination facility in Cordoba and this is our current featured Organic Decaf as well!
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