Oaxaca Field Trip
This year marks the beginning of an exciting new relationship with two producers from the Santa Maria Yucuhiti community located in the south-western state of Oaxaca, Mexico. We were invited, along with 5 other fantastic roasters from the U.S., to participate in this year’s Brigada—a competition set up by Red Fox Coffee Merchants and held in their gorgeous year-round lab in the city of Oaxaca. The Brigada competition showcased over 30 top-scoring producers of the Santa Maria Yucuhiti municipality, rewarding quality production by paying high premiums to the top ten.
Prior to even tasting a drop of coffee, the recent resurgence of interest for coffee out of Mexico as a whole set expectations high (and excitement even higher). Cupping through the coffees, even within neighboring crops, there were tons of fresh fruit, dry fruit, floral qualities, spices, you name it, really—these coffees were just so incredibly dynamic.
The diversity of profiles from producer to producer seems to echo the long standing diversity of people found within the state of Oaxaca. In the state of Oaxaca alone, there exist 16 indigenous groups, many of which grow coffee. Santa Maria Yucuhiti is a part of the Mixteca zone of Oaxaca corresponding to both the name of the primary indigineous group and the language spoken by them. Each producer averages about 1-2 coffee growing hectares and their method of organization is rather unique as compared to many other coffee growing regions. In an effort to gain autonomy from larger organizations, several families and individuals group together as one community rather than joining larger associations or cooperatives.
We were able to purchase a total of 3 lots, each distinct in profile in hopes to showcase just how incredibly dynamic coffee from Oaxaca, Mexico can be. Martin Pablo Ortiz Perez, winner of the 2020 Oaxaca Brigada, has produced a coffee that is like no other coffee. His handiwork has resulted in an explosion of rich, yet vibrant fruit qualities and is amplified by its remarkable sweetness. Our second purchase comes from Eleucardio Romero Zamora’s high scoring lot, El Amante. His coffee is packed with honey-like sweetness and is dominated by a clean and lingering fresh fruit acidity. The final lot, San Agustin Loxicha is a combined lot from producers Alejandrino Luna Felipe and Ines Jose Suarez. Their coffee is the definition of a cozy, smile-evoking cup due to its drinking chocolate qualities and brown sugar sweetness. We’re genuinely ecstatic and have been anxiously waiting to share these coffees with you. Now that they’re here, we hope you like them too!
Martin Pablo Ortiz Perez participated in and won the 2020 Brigada using coffee from his farm, El Carnero, located within the Guadalupe Miramar district of Santa Maria Yucuhiti. There, he grows Bourbon, Typica, Mundo Novo, and Caturra between 1450-1850 meters above sea level. Martin fermented his coffee dry for 24-36 hours and allowed it to dry for 10-20 days on a combination of petate mats, patios, and raised beds. He is a part of Grupo Cecilio, an informal group of 15 family members and neighbors led by Cecilio Perez Vasquez.
We were lucky enough to secure Martin’s entire 300lb lot and couldn’t be happier. His coffee is gleaming with a bright pomegranate acidity and is packed to the brim with a sugar cane-like sweetness.
Eleucardio’s coffee was an immediate attention-grabber—drawing us in with its persuasive jammy fruit qualities. He is a member of the informal group, Grupo Yosutato, who represents a total of 40 family members and neighbors, led by Madelina Lopez Lopez.
We purchased his entire 455lb production of Bourbon & the unique Pluma variety grown at his farm, El Amante. Eleucardio’s farm is located 1700-1900 meters above sea level in the community of San Pedro Yosotatu where the high altitude in combination with careful processing and drying allow for the coffee produced to be both dense and complex. He allowed this coffee to ferment dry for 18-24 hours and dried it for 8-10 days on petate mats after washing. With extremely clean characteristics that remind us of raspberry jam and crisp fuji apples…don’t be surprised when this coffee seems to disappear from your cup.
San Agustin Loxicha
The San Agustin Loxicha lot is made up of coffee from two producers, Alejandrino Luna Felipe and Ines Jose Suarez. The San Agustin Loxicha community is located within the historically renown Pluma subregion of Oaxaca where coffee grows at elevation as high as 2200 masl. The subregion boasts the singular Pluma Hidalgo variety, an offshoot of Typica that when grown at high altitude is recognized by its saturated brown sugar sweetness, cozy drinking chocolate richness, and dynamic apple-like acidity. This combined lot has been fermented dry for 18-24 hours, washed, and dried for 10-20 days on petate mats. The resulting cup is representative of the classic Pluma profile allowing for a cozy, easy-sipping experience.