The Gem of los Cuchumatanes

By: Dana Foster

Tucked in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, the highest mountain range in Central America, the Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Desarrollo de Concepcion Huista (better known as “CODECH”) produces some of the best Fair Trade & organic coffees not just in the department of Huehuetenango but in all of Guatemala. CODECH is comprised of three base cooperatives – Asociación de Desarrollo Integral Productivo Yamanonh (ADIPY), and Asociación de Desarrollo Integral Tierra Hermosa Concepcionera (ADINTHEC), and Asociación de Agricultores Tineco (ADAT) – and its members represent the Popti, Mam, and Q’anjob’al branches of the Mayan family.

After Atlas’ first visit in late 2009 CODECH started a micro-lot program by classifying producers according to the elevations of their farms, and in 2012 we helped them organize their very first internal cupping competition that now is an annual event. The micro-lots largely come from the ADIPY and ADINTHEC base groups and now include coffees from individual producers, which represents a major achievement for a Guatemalan Fair Trade co-op that previously had sold only full lots. Atlas along with several of its roaster clients continue to work closely with CODECH on quality control and traceability, as we see even greater potential for them going forward. The micro-lots often exhibit the classic Huehue blackberry and chocolate flavors but also can be quite refined with elegant acidity and notes of stone fruits and citrus.

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