White chocolate, dried cranberries and madeira wine.
Elevation: 1,550 - 1,700 masl
Variety: Pluma Hidalgo
Processing: CM Natural
Producer: Enrique Lopėz
Sourced Through: Raw Material Coffee
Enrique’s farm Finca Chelín is renowned for his high-quality lots, ranging is multitudes of experimental ferments of high cost and quality varietals. Enrique is highly influential in Oaxaca, and delivers educational training, talks, and access to buyers for other producers in the region. Esther Escamila for example, whose coffee Raw Materials also buy, has trained at Chelin. Enrique has been a vital link for RM and their partners Red Beetle in connecting us with producers across Sierra Sur. Enrique’s focus is creating a name for Oaxacan coffees, that are incredibly high quality, and delicious.
For this lot cherries are picked very ripe (dark red - purple, ideally around 26°Brix). They then rest in carbonic maceration (anaerobically in a closed plastic tank) for 4 nights before drying. Drying is firstly for 4 days under direct sun, then under shade nets for roughly 30 days.
About Raw Material's work in Mexico
In Mexico, RM's work is based in Oaxaca and Chiapas. From afar, Mexico is a growing economic force, ranked 64th globally in GDP per capita. However, the coffee-producing states in southern Mexico face a very different economic reality. Oaxaca and Chiapas are the two poorest states in Mexico with poverty rates of 60-80% and extreme poverty rates of 20-40%
Production yields have become dangerously low in these regions. Over the last ten years coffee leaf rust disease and the lack of financial or agricultural means to tackle it has reduced production by up to 90% in some regions. The average yield in Oaxaca is now just 100kg of parchment per hectare. For context, in Colombia, the average yield is 2,400kg per hectare.
The vast majority of Mexico’s 500,000 coffee producers are smallholder farmers and have one hectare or less of land under coffee. This makes the average annual production for many producers just 100kg, making coffee farming more and more unsustainable. This is fuelling widespread migration to urban centres in Mexico and the United States. In short, coffee production is disappearing.
RM work with several producer groups in Oaxaca. These partnerships help improve the overall profitability and viability of coffee production for producers in Oaxaca, and have begun work in Chiapas. Their long term focus is on improving yields and building stable demand at a stable price by connecting roasters with producers. They aim to achieve this in ways that are low-cost, easily replicated, and that ensure the first-order upsides are captured directly by those most marginalised.
To achieve these goals they have focused first on building trust and setting a baseline for coffee pricing and pre-financing. Currently, the most common outlet for producers in Oaxaca is to sell their parchment to local intermediaries at a market-set price.
RM aim to consistently pay upwards of this standard market price as a first payment. Following this is a second, quality-based price that increases total profit earned per kg by between 7 and 10 times. This has been self-identified as the most impactful role we can play in the short term. Paying in this way provides rapid, predictable returns on investment made by producers and can increase household income from coffee by up to 10 x the average income derived from selling at the local market price.