Guatemala, Flor De Cafe
Farmer: 5 small holder producers from ASDEFLOR Association:
Marina Perez, Santos Perez Ramirez, Cristina Perez, Marcelo Perez, and Mirian Perez
Region: Chanjón, Huehuetenango
Varietals: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, Typica
Flavour Notes: Stone Fruit, cherry blossom, almond, green apple acidity.
This is a carefully selected community lot made up of Caturra, Bourbon, Catuai, and Typica varietals coming from five members of the ASDEFLOR Association, located in the township of Chanjón, in the Todos Santos Cuchumatán municipality in the department of Huehuetenango. ASDEFLOR is the Asociación de Desarrollo Flor del Café (Coffee Flower Development Association), and it is a tiny collective of just 30 members, all of whom belong to the Mam Mayan indigenous community. Mam is still the language used, Spanish being a second-language used only when speaking to mestizos. The Association owns a communal wet-mill where most producers process their coffee. Fermentations are long and cold, between two and three days. Producers cover the tanks in thick plastic to make sure the fermentation is homogenous and clean. The wet-mill sits at 1700 masl where parchment is dried partially on raised beds and finished on patios.
The Association was legalized as ASDEFLOR in 2012 but the members had been working collaboratively long before. Previously they have only sold locally, bulking their parchment together and delivering to a Co-Op who pays market rate. Located quite far away, and often taking too long to deliver payment, many producers were choosing to hold their coffee back and look for other, better paying markets. When we first visited, the market rate was below cost of production, and though local market prices increased for the first time in a while in the 2021 harvest period, increased fertilizer prices and a labor shortage meant that many producers saw their costs of production go up as well.
All the members of the Association used to be subsistence farmers of maize and frijol and many were forced to migrate to the US where they found work to send money home. Since then, many have returned to Chanjón, and after planting coffee they are now able to stay on their land and haven’t needed to cross the border since. However, the price of coffee has historically remained dangerously low and has been for several years, threatening their ability to ensure their basic needs are met. Together, the members have worked to build a shared laboratory where they brew organic fertilizers for members to use, and they work together to find access to buyers and markets that recognize the value of their work.