CODECH is a small but innovative cooperative. They held their first internal microlot competition in 2012. Since then it has become an eagerly anticipated annual event, both for the small scale farmers who carefully tend their submissions, and the specialty roasters who make the grueling trip to this remote place for the unique tasting coffees that grow here.
Farms are at ridiculously high elevations of ~2000 m, tucked into the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, the highest mountains in Guatemala. Farmers grow bourbon, caturra, catuai and pache varieties here. In conjunction with the founding of the microlot competition farmers here made a commitment to producing the highest quality coffees. They continually experiment with their processing methods to create coffees that are stunningly sweet, fruity and floral.
CODECH members are from the Popti, Mam and Q’anjob’al branches of the Mayan family. There are 482 members in total, and 167 of them are women. This high proportion of female members exists because many of the women inherited their family coffee farms when their husbands were victims of the Mayan Genocide that occurred in the 1980s.
The women of CODECH are thriving now. In this year’s microlot competition, 4 of the top 5 ranked coffees were women’s lots. We are very pleased to offer these coffees one at a time in our Women of Huehue series.
The first coffee in our Women of Huehue series is that of Anita Ramirez (Popti speaker). Anita started out with .2 hectares of land about 25 years ago. Whenever she could she would acquire more land, and she now farms 2.2 hectares. About 6 years ago she rehabilitated her farm, planting new varieties of coffee trees. She dry ferments her beans after depulping for about 35 hours. The result in the cup is remarkable blackberry notes.
As the second place winner in the micro-lot competition, Anita earned an additional .20 per pound for her coffee, which in her case amounts to over $400 for her winning lot of coffee, an appreciated and generous upside for quality.