Our very own Philip, the coyote to Coyote’s Coffee, traveled to Mexico in January to work with coffee farmers in the Chiapas region. This region is located in the Southern most region of Mexico right next to the Guatemalan border.
To make this journey he took a flight to Mexico City then another flight south to the city of Tuxtla. From here he took a 6-hour road trip to the Mountains where he ended up in the small town of Yojalon. Along this drive, he saw many sites of Mayan Heritage and was in the Territory of the original Mexican Aboriginals. Most coffee plantations in this area are at Altitudes of 4500 to 6000 ft.
Many of the farmers here are of Mayan culture, speaking little to no Spanish at all. The farms that Philip was invited to presented their own unique challenges not only with the language barrier but also with access to their farms. Roads to get to the elevations that these farms are located have taken a beating from floods and weather making them at times impassable. Philip commented on his travels saying that the Mayan people are extraordinarily joyful and shy as well as very humble. The people in this area live a simple life with very little in material wealth.
Philip had the opportunity to visit and celebrate the Mayan’s on their native land and participate with Mario’s CoOp in providing their children Mexican entertainment, Piñata’s and children’s games as well as many toys and food Hampers for the families. All of the festivities were enjoyed along-side a Mayan meal.
During his stay Philip had the opportunity to stay in coffee country. Which proved to be far more damp and cold that Philip was expecting. Living in the country side in a camp-like setting with cold showers and hot meals wasn’t all fun and games, but the extensive country side views and overwhelming hospitality of the Mayan and Mexican farmers made the whole experience amazing to say the least. It also made for a few comical calls home and plenty stories for when he returned.
The farms in the Chiapas region are many (2000+), many of which sell their coffee at starvation wages to Multi-national companies. Given the unique opportunity to be welcomed into their villages, their lives and their work environment Philip took a look around their coffee cooperative. Philip states, “I was able to get a unique perception of the desperate need to increase the wellbeing of Mexican Coffee farmers through cooperatives.” The cooperative that invited him to Mexico was extremely focuses on improving the quality of their coffee by gaining information about refining their harvesting, milling, and new methods of coffee processing. Philip humbly and respectfully gave information, answer questions and encouraged improved ways to increase their quality, their wages and their overall pride for their work. He explained new screening processes as well as quality grading so that they would be able to develop ways to offer specialty grade coffee to the world. It was evident during this time of learning and taking in new information that the cooperative was willing to do everything could to increase the quality of life for their farmers to give a better return for their hard work and investment.
We at Coyotes are privileged to say that we will soon be offering coffee directly form the Chiapas region. These coffees will be hand picked and acts as a beginning platform for developing specialty level coffees. In return we are offering significantly more for their toils than they are currently being paid for the higher quality of coffee and for their attention to detail. By increasing their quality, in return this increases their pride in their product as well as increase wages. This equation of increased quality to increased pride will hopefully improves the lives of the workers and farmers. Not only will this formula help the farmers but will also be a wonderful addition to Coyotes, being able to understand and have information on the coffee beans that will be farm to cup is a Grande new experience for not only us but the customers as well. Overall the dream is to raise awareness of 3rd world Coffee production and address it in a fair and equitable way. We want to be proud of what we are able to produce for the customers as well as be proud that we got to where we are in the fairest way possible.
People in this region have many challenges to face that Philip witnessed first hand. Protestors were blocking streets on his way back to the airport, protesting the rise in gas price and negative government support. They also deal with abuse from the cartel and many other issues, we at Coyotes hope to be positive supporters in the way that we know how and are extremely excited to be welcoming in the new beans from this region.