Some of our first coffees from Mexico were from the producers of Union San Pedro and they gave us a glimpse into all Mexican coffee can be. We were blown away by the exceptional quality and phenomenal cup profiles that these first lots gave us and so when we had the chance to order a pallet of coffees out of Mexico we jumped at it.
Among these coffees was yet another incredible lot from the communities that form part of Union San Pedro. This cooperative represents 8 communities around San Pedro El Alto in the Sierra Sur in Oaxaca. These 8 communities represent 180 families who are farming coffee on small parcels of communal land. 90% of the land in this region is considered communal and so the families who farm these parcels of land are the custodians of this coffee. Each producer or family will be the custodian of 1 to 4 hectares of land and whilst the yield for coffee in this region has typically been quite low, Union San Pedro under the leadership of Salomon Garcia has been seeing improvements.
Salomon helped to establish the association in the early 2000s and was instrumental with the early leadership in setting up the associated dry mill and exporters that Raw Material uses to export these coffees. In recent years, Salomon has placed a heavy focus on reforestation in his coffee producing methodology. Aided by trees supplied through the WWF, Salomon has been instrumental in changing the landscape of this region. He has pioneered what has become known as the 'edible forests' of the Sierra Sur, a mix of vanilla vines, cinnamon, cardamom and cacao growing amongst the coffee trees. These crops help boost revenue and provide much needed jobs for the younger members of these communities, which in turn encourage them to stay in these regions instead of migrating to the big cities.
The edible forests that Salomon's project has created.
In addition to this reforestation project, in recent years Salomon has turned his focus and efforts towards tackling the issues that the farmers and producers in Oaxaca face today. Under his careful guidance Union San Pedro has funded demonstrative parcelas or small tracts of land for each sub-association to experiment with new varieties or different farming techniques to help overcome the challenge of the traditionally low yields that the Oaxaca region faces. They have also cultivated a nursery of high quality saplings that they distribute to the producers that form part of Union San Pedro.
When you view the landscapes across the Sierra Sur you see the forests in all their glory, with the secret grove of coffee growing underneath the canopy. These hidden coffee trees are the beauties from which the incredible coffees of Union San Pedro come.
The forests of San Pedro El Alto covering the secret grove of coffee beneath
Our current lot from Union San Pedro is a natural, from the parcela produced by Genaro Perez with the help of the Union San Pedro and the wisdom of people like Salomon Garcia. You can expect a boozy fullness with milk chocolate sweetness and an array of fresh fruity flavours.
You can grab some to enjoy here.
The Great Kiskadee is the animal emblem the producers of Union San Pedro chose to represent themselves.
Images and information credited to our partners at Raw Material.