Eat The Secret Story Behind our Coffee Beans
“I don’t buy coffee,” Jesús Salazar, founder and CEO of El Cafeologo in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, once said. What Salazar does is far more involved. He works directly with small coffee farmers in the southern state of Chiapas to develop their coffee production, teaching picking techniques and processing methods, then helps with roasting and cupping. In 2010, Salazar worked with just four farmers. Our coffee shop El Molino proudly buys premium, fair-trade, organic beans from Salazar, and thanks to partners like us, Salazar has increased his network to 35 “micro-producers.”
One such “micro-producer” is Pedro Vázquez. His family farm in Chiapas used to grow sugar cane, but he switched to growing coffee about 30 years ago. Vázquez takes care to protect his soil by not using any chemicals, and is looking to the future by planting shade trees, which can protect young coffee plants from drought stress and overexposure to the sun. Vázquez’s wife oversees the bean harvest. Meanwhile, two of his daughters work with Salazar, one as a roaster and the other as a barista, to better understand the entire coffee chain.
So the next time you’re at our courtyard coffee shop, take a moment to reflect on the beans used to make your refreshing cold brew or frothy lechero. Raise a cup to promoting small coffee farmers—or simply make them proud by savoring the delicious drinks made using their beans.