We now are selling Kapeh-Utz!
Kapeh-Utz(capé ootz) translates from the Mayan Kaqchikel dialect to: Good Coffee. And let me tell you; it is more than good. Their website touts this coffee as: “…some of the best in the world and will satisfy even the most refined coffee-drinker. However, beyond offering great-tasting beans, we also offer the opportunity to support a great cause. Kapeh-Utz is committed to giving back to the farmers and villages in Guatemala who produce our coffee. We pay significantly above fair-trade price or more for our beans and always guarantee a portion of our profits will go back to the communities from which we buy. We are “Coffee with a Cause.”
I first met Felipe Misa in 2008 while spending the summer in Guatemala. Felipe is a coffee farmer and member of the Ija´tz Cooperative. Ija’tz is a communitarian organization of indigenous families and professionals. Facing the social, economical and environmental crisis in Guatemala, Asociación Ija´tz aims to alleviate this situation by promoting a sustainable development and environmental consciousness in accordance with the principles of the Mayan Cosmovision. In Ija´tz , both men and women work together to realize common goals. Ija´tz works with Manos Campesinas (www.manoscampesinas.org ) as their fair trade exporter to the international market.
I have had the opportunity to work alongside Felipe and get to know him and his family over my time spent traveling in Guatemala. This single-origin specialty coffee is from the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. The cooperative, which consists of 64 Mayan families are committed to using 100% organic, sustainable farming practices and have earned organic and rainforest alliance certifications. Last winter when I was living in Guatemala I jumped in on the harvest. This coffee is grown at 5,000 feet elevation on the sides of volcanos and mountains that surround Lake Atitlan. On sunny December days I would hike up the side of a volcano with my friends to the coffee plots. We would harvest all morning by pulling down the high limbs of the tree-like coffee shrubs with wooden canes. We stripped juicy red coffee berries off each branch and tossed them into baskets. Sometimes it was quiet and sometimes we all cracked jokes and gossiped. At lunch time we would break to snack on oranges and a potent mixture of Coke and Quetzalteca. Those were fine days sitting under the coffee trees with sunlight streaming through the branches. It felt like winter in the shade and spring in the light. Everyone’s hair was bound up in a colorful rag to keep it free of coffee chaff. After a day of harvest a few people would heave the 50 lb bags across the backs of their shoulders and we would make the steep descent. Some days we would push our bikes up the rocky paths and ride down the side of the volcano at breakneck speeds, getting bucked around and eventually tossed off every couple 100 feet. So good.
This is Felipe Misa, my friend and fellow farmer from San Lucas Toliman on the waters of Lake Atitlan. We were hiking up Cerro de Oro or The Hill of Gold.
My friends Luis and Felipe checking out some coffee plants on Cerro de Oro.
Lake Atitlan: Taken from above San Lucas Toliman
This is what it’s all about folks: knowing your farmer! In the case of more exotic plants, such as coffee, it would be difficult to know the farmer who grew them. In this case, I do know the farmer and count myself lucky to be a part of it all!
So dear shareholders if you would like to be a part of it all let me know! Whether you would like to purchase a share or simply sample some of the coffee at Eastern Market, I need to know of any inklings of interest. I have to call Guatemala and place my orders soon.
Look under ‘The Farm Shares’ Tab to learn more about Coffee Share prices and details.
For more information about Kapeh-Utz visit: http://www.kapeh-utz.com