CODECH, Huehuetenango, Guatemala
CODECH, or the Coordinator of Organizations for the Development of Concepcion Huista, is an innovative small cooperative in remote Huehuetenango that produces highly sought after, stunningly sweet, fruity and floral coffee that exemplifies the best of small-scale Guatemalan coffees. The cooperative is based in Concepcion Huista, a town about an hour’s drive up the mountain road from Jacaltenango, the closest small city. These centres are located on the far side of the Chuchamatan Mountains from Huehuetenango City and make up for their remoteness with extremely high altitudes that largely account for the incredible quality potential of the region.
Coffee is grown as high as 2000 metres on small farms primarily cultivating bourbon, caturra, catuai and pache varieties. The farmers here largely intercrop their coffee with corn and shade trees to improve biodiversity, manage exposure to sunlight and as alternative food and cash crops. Coffee is pulped, washed and dried on the farms and then delivered to community warehouses for sorting and final delivery to a third party mill in Quetzaltenango.
CODECH is remarkable for a number of reasons, but most exciting is their innovative approach to separating out their production based on altitude and community, such that the best coffees can be identified and sold on their own as “microlots” for higher prices. This has been a mutually beneficial project for the producers and for roasters who are looking to find exceptional coffees from this region.