Tasting Notes: Candied Pecan, Bakers Chocolate, Apple Turnover
The Sierra Mixteca producer association, based in Santa Maria Yucuhiti, Oaxaca, is an organized group of about 150 active farmer members. The mountainous coffee growing area in Yucuhiti is one of the highest altitude growing regions in the state starting around 1450 masl and topping out around 1900 masl. The pure Bourbon and Typica varietals, which are grown under a thick shade canopy, are meticulously selected at optimum ripeness during peak harvest in January and February, floated, and carefully depulped, then fermented overnight without water for up to 24 hours. Each producer's parchment lot is separated over the course of the harvest and sent in for pre-screening on moisture content, water actviity, and cup quality at least 3 times before being bulked into community lots.
The small, clean, rebuilding town center of Guadalupe Miramar, has stunning views looking out over the Sierra Madre mountain range extending all the way to the Pacific ocean. A few kilometers up the dirt road from Miramar is the San Pedro Yosotatu community where a small group of neighboring farmers within the co-op approached us early in the harvest with interest and desire to separate their coffee and directly participate in the conversations around quality selection and improve- ment and negotiate the corresponding price premiums we could pay. This is a sub-group of about 20-30 farmers that are mostly all women, and led by a woman named Madelina Lopez. in San Pedro Yosotatu, the majority is still Typica and a smaller percentage Bourbon. A major initiative being led by the co-op is replanting of top quality varieties and maintaining nurseries in select areas around the community and distributing seedlings to members. The group has intentionally focused on re-planting after a few challenging years dealing with leaf rust, and maintaining traditional Bourbon and Typica varieties which are proven in the cup. All farmers use full organic practices and most maintain their own small scale worm composting facilities.
This years’ lot separation from San Pedro Yosotatu and Guadalupe Miramar are ex- emplary of what potential exists from this previously under-recognized prime coffee growing area, and we expect big things to come with improved leadership, price premiums, incentives and re-investments from within the motivated group.
Within the cup structure itself is a pleasant balance leaning toward body rather than acidity with soft fruit on the nose with a pleasant sweetness in the cup leaning more towards chocolate and sweet pastry with a lingering welcoming spice.