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Santiago Sochiltepec

Sierra Sur, Oaxaca, Mexico
Partner since: 2021 Traceable to: Individual Households Altitude: 1700 - 1750 Varietals: Typica La Pluma, Bourbon, Caturra, Mundo Novo
Processing:

Fully washed with 12-24 hour delayed pulping, followed by 24-36 hours of wet fermentation (in wood or stone tanks) before washing and drying on raised beds and patios for an average of 15 days, after which It is stored in a farmers’ house until delivery to Oaxaca City.

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Santiago Sochiltepec is a town of one thousand people, 420 indigenous Zapoteca households and 80 cell phones. It’s also the most populated town in the entire municipality, which spans the Sierra Madre mountain range that separates Oaxaca’s Central Valley from the Pacific Coast. This area is cooled by pine forests, evening fog and morning dew – making it the perfect climate for coffee. It’s not chance that this is the heart of Mexico’s famous La Pluma region, home to the Typica varietal of the same name and now protected as a recognized geographic indicator. Farmers from Sochiltepec are turning on to specialty one by one, and we are featuring these household lots to encourage more to give specialty a chance.

Mexico is for coffee lovers. Few origins offer such variety, such competency, and such short flights to the farm. While often overlooked by their neighbors to the north, Mexico is the world’s 7th largest coffee producer, the largest exporter of organic coffees, and a fast-growing consumers of specialty coffee.
Seventy percent of Mexico’s crop comes from larger estates, concentrated around Veracruz, with the remaining thirty percent coming from 2 million smallholders, spread around the country but mostly in the Southern States of Chiapas and Oaxaca.
This is also where we find most of Mexico’s indigenous population, communities who moved higher and higher up-mountain, onto smaller and smaller plots of land, first to get away from colonial Spain, and later pushed by larger landowners during decades of highly political land reforms. In this way Mexico’s agrarian, coffee and Puebla movements are intertwined.
Though coffee arrived into Mexico two centuries earlier, it did not take off until the late 20th century.
In the 1970s a farmer friendly government came to power and encouraged smallholder production. Coffee exports skyrocketed nearly ten-fold over the next two decades. However, in the middle of this growth the government had to default on debt, cut back programs, and end a decade of federal support for smallholders. Price, markets and credit dwindled to drips – and on top of that – we got some Roya too. Oh, and did we mention the condition of the peso?
Into this distressed situation we see the rise of the coyote; middle-men who build truckloads of coffee up from 1-5 bag household level. Still today, buyers look for points of aggregation that can cut out middle-men but still give them access to volumes.