Balanced and sweet - be careful not to finish this one too quickly, before it cools and more nuanced fruit flavors begin to shine. The sweetness is very reminiscent of a candy bar (think twix or kit kat) - chocolate, caramel, honey, nougat. This sugary sweetness lends itself to a mouthfeel that’s full and guaranteed to please. The acidity remains very present, yet totally in balance. We’re tasting: brown sugar, honey, sweet lemon, cherry, plum, apple, pear, chocolate, brownies.
- Harvest Season: January to March 2018
- Roast: light
- Acidity: balanced, sweet lemon/li>
- Body: full, sugary
- Taste Notes: cherry, milk chocolate, juicy, rich
- Process: washed
- Varietal: Typica, Bourbon, Caturra
- Origin: San Pedro, Aldama, Chiapas Mexico
- Altitude: 1,500 masl
From the head roaster of 1000 Faces Coffee:
The landscape becomes more magical and mystical when you get closer to the clouds. At nearly 2000 masl, there are only small, quiet villages overlooking vast valleys of greenery. Up until extremely recently (the 1990s!) when roads were finally built in this area of Mexico, these places were largely hidden to the world. All of the farmers throughout this region of Mexico, mostly of Mayan descent, have historically grown and sold coffee through the local market. This consists of ‘coyotes’ driving village to village with pickup trucks and buying all of your product (defects, under ripe, overripe, everything) for very cheap, often even below the market price. We’re happy to be involved with pushing producers away from this model and supporting better farming practices through much higher pay incentives for quality coffees. We truly believe there are coffee gems within Chiapas, and we are humbled to visit each year and continue furthering our relationships. Within each village/home/farm we visit we are able to directly observe and hear explanations surrounding each farmers’ different growing, processing, and drying practices that make their coffees unique. A big ‘thank you’ is in order to Jesús Salazar and his entire team at Cafeología - these folks do a mass amount of work year round educating farmers, exploring new regions, processing coffees themselves, and continually pushing for excellence. They are to thank for introducing us to Mexican coffees and showing us just how much potential and beauty there is in Chiapas. We are extremely excited and honored to be sharing what we have selected this season and will be highlighting a total of four farmers throughout the year. With some logistical help from InterAmerican, we were able to import these coffees to the United States once again - now for the second time ever!
Our second offering the season is a new producer to us - Alejandro Jiménez. He lives just down the street from Don Hilario Sántiz in San Pedro, Aldama. Jesús Salazar first met the Jiménez family four years ago when learning to roast in San Pedro. A governmental program installed small coffee roasters in villages throughout Chiapas as part of an initiative to teach farmers at origin how to roast their coffees. Through this program, Jesús met Don Ramón Jiménez (father of Alejandro), and they learned to roast coffee together. Jesús tells us, though, that this came with some serious challenges - most notably, a very unstable power supply that would frequently shut off in the middle of a roast! This is quite revolutionary for farmers to learn to roast and taste their own coffees, for many producers are often focused exclusively on farming and the production of a high yielding crop. Through this experience, Jesús was able to make many long-lasting connections and learn in-depth about the coffees they were growing in Aldama. He tells us that at this time they were using very poor picking and processing practices, and it was quite a surprise to him that the coffees were still tasting so good. A partnership was formed with a handful of farmers, and they began to experiment with roasting coffees in San Cristóbal de las Casas at Jesús’s roastery. As trust was formed, Jesús began to slowly recommend better and better processing practices to implement at the farm level. A tiered pricing system was agreed upon to reward higher scoring coffees and encourage farmers that the improved techniques were worth the extra effort because the coffees would taste better and result in a higher price. This was a challenge and counterintuitive for many; most older farmers have lived their entire lives focused solely on high yields to sell to the coyotes. The thought of leaving cherries on the tree until all perfectly ripe or turning coffees more often on the patios to slow down drying times was never a thought that crossed their minds - this adds lots of additional time and labor to the process. Don Ramón, however, trusted Jesús from the start and they were able to establish a coffee program together that resulted in consistently high scoring coffees. Though Ramón has recently passed away, his eldest son, Alejandro, has eagerly taken on the responsibility of the family farm. Jesús seems to think that Alejandro represents a new generation of farmers in Chiapas. Alejandro Jiménez is young and inspired. He is thinking of markets beyond his isolated village, adopting new processing methods, and growing coffees without thinking of the coyotes at all. We get extremely excited buying coffees from producers like this that are so quality focused with their minds set on the future. Though this will be a quick, limited release, we hope to visit with Alejandro in 2019 to learn more about his coffees and his processes.