Mexiko Juba Guerrero
Finally one of our most popular coffees is back with a new crop, much loved 2022 version of this fine coffee and we are genuinely happy to work with these producers again. Since so many have taken the coffee to their hearts, and palates, here is some extra information about the coffee:
Juba means mountain in Mepha, which is the language used by the producers – mainly women – who produce the coffee. The coffee is part of a long-term project that aims to strengthen coffee's position in the region; the participating producers are paid three times more than the market price. The character of the coffee is balanced with character of nuts, soft fruitiness, fine chocolate tones and a pronounced fullness.
The state of Guerrero is one of Mexico's 16 coffee-producing states, and borders Oaxaca and Puebla. In Guerrero, 80% of the terrain is mountainous and the main economic activity is agriculture. Coffee was first introduced by the Spanish along the coast of Sierra de Atoyac, and most of the labor to pick coffee was drawn from the poorest areas of Guerrero – a region known as Montaña Alta. These workers, planted coffee in their backyards and in this way coffee slowly started to become an important plant. The region is now characterized by the production of shade-grown and organically grown coffee. Guerrero produces almost exclusively berry-dried coffee, which is rare in Mexico, where more than 90% of the total coffee exported is processed by the washed method.
In the region, poverty is widespread, which has meant that many have fled to the more northern states of Mexico, as well as to the United States. The drug trade in the region is extensive, which has meant that Guerrero has a damaged self-image and a bad reputation internationally.
Because of this, few companies have invested in the area in terms of purchasing coffee. Almost 100% of Guerrero coffee is purchased, directly or indirectly, by a single private company, which then sells on to a large international buyer. This monopoly has set very low prices for coffee and a general disinterest in growing it.
We buy the Juba Guerrero coffee through a company called Ensambles Cafes Mexicanos that a project focused on specialty coffee in this area back in 2017, a project led by Miguel Guevara, an agronomist originally from Montaña Alta. Miguel has worked with producers to improve quality and help reach different markets. Miguel provides training on selective picking, selection and drying. He also supports the project by obtaining regional funds to finance a nursery, local warehouses, building drying beds, etc. The first producers to join this initiative were all women. Many women in this region are empowered to make decisions because their husbands live elsewhere for work. These women call themselves "Evas", referring to the first woman Eve. They decided to call the project JUBA, which means mountain in their indigenous language of Mephaa. Dissatisfaction with low prices has allowed this project to grow rapidly, increasing from 5 to now 33 producers in 5 years.
One of the cornerstones of specialty coffee at the origin is quality control and separation between different coffee lots. Running a lab in the coffee areas is the key to careful quality control and direct feedback to the growers. In 2022, Ensambles Cafes Mexicanos went from 1 to 3 laboratories in Montaña alta. A successful move this year was to have a spot on local radio to announce the company's presence and explain the important work they do. Since the messages were spoken in both Spanish and Mephaa, many producers heard it and came to visit the lab to have their samples assessed. The result is that they now receive coffee from twice as many municipalities as last year.
33 family farms
Montaña Alta, Guerrero
1500 - 1900 metre
Sun on raised beds
February - April