Sibactel - Mexico, La Cabra | 250g

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The return of one of our favourite lots of last year’s Mexican harvest, from the Cafeólogo’s Sibactel community mill. The Garnica varietal lot has a delicately tea-like feel, with soft red fruit notes giving an overall impression of a black tea with added dried red fruit.

  • Producer: San Pedro Farmers
  • Region: Chiapas
  • Altitude: 1800 masl
  • Varietal: Garnica
  • Process: Washed
  • Harvest: May 2021

Cafeólogo is a project founded by Jesús Salazar, focussing mainly on indigenous coffee growers in the area around San Cristobal de las Casas in central Chiapas, the southernmost region of Mexico. San Cristobal is located rather close to the border with Guatemala, and is in fact only around 200 km or about a 5 hour drive from San Marcos Huista in Huehuetenango, where we have purchased several coffees in the past. Starting in 2010, Jesús initially worked with 4 small producers, but soon many producers in the area were curious about the project, and the prices they could be paid for their coffee through their newly found access to the speciality market.

To be able to accept so many more farmers into the project, Jesús realised that quality control would be very difficult if each producer was to grow and process their own coffee. So he made it his mission to add value to each group of producer’s work through careful processing, undertaking a Q-processing course and building two community wet mills, Sibactel and San Pedro.

Members of the Cafeólogo team immersed themselves in the communities at San Pedro and Sibactel, learning the local Mayan dialects, understanding each farmer’s practices, their challenges and their needs. They also surveyed some of the more technical aspects of the land here, identifying potential pest and disease problems, and sequencing the varietals they found on each farm. Through this, they were able to present each farmer with a package of agronomic support. In the intervening years, they have built up trust within these groups, and handed over much of the control of the project to them.

Cafeólogo, seeing the value of each farmer’s high quality cherry, pay the same price as for a high quality parchment coffee, so their income is not reduced, but their cost of production and level of risk is. This allows them to focus on the agronomical aspects of coffee production, with support from Cafeólogo on topics such as coffee physiology, nutrition, pests and diseases, organic practices and vitally, their own quality control. This particular lot from San Pedro was processed using the washed method, creating a very clean and clear representation of the terroir here.

The lot is 100% Garnica, a cross between Mundo Novo and Caturra developed in Mexico in the 1960’s. Often small groups of neighbours, with such small farm sizes, share resources and deliver cherry to the wet mills together, for example this lot was produced by Pedro López Intzín, Simón Jiménez Girón and Pedro López Gómez.