Producer: Members of the EK BALAM cooperative
Region: Chiapas Norte - Villa Corzo, Ángel Albino Corzo, and La Concordia
Elevation: 1,200 - 1,700 m.a.s.l.
Varieties: Marsellesa, Bourbon, Typica ------ (and a small percentage of other varieties.)
Harvest: December - March
This selection of La Frailesca comes from producers in the communities of Villa Corzo, Ángel Albino Corzo, and La Concordia who are members of the EK-BALAM Cooperative. After harvest and processing, producers coffees are kept separate and are tested multiple times for the best cup and physical characteristics. The best lots are put together to make this selection that exemplifies the characteristics of this area of northern Chiapas.
The EK BALAM Cooperative
The EK-BALAM cooperative, is located in the Frailesca region near El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve in the heart of Sierra Madre de Chiapas. The cooperative is comprised of over 1,300 growers in 6 municipalities and 35 communities around Chiapas Norte. EK-BALAM derives its name from Mayan culture: Ek means "star" and Balam means "Jaguar."
In 2012 la roya (rust), a disease caused by a fungus that attacks coffee leaves, devastated the coffee plantations of the Chiapas producers. Many coffee farmers saw generations of coffee cultivation disappear in one season. This led to the dissolution of many organizations, leaving many producers at the mercy of coyotes of the region. In 2019 several experienced producers decided to join hands and create what is now EK-BALAM.
The coffees from La Frailesca are exported by Cari Coffee, which was officially established in 2020. Cari the specialty coffee division of Agroindustrias Unidas de México S.A de C.V. (AMSA) and a member of the ECOM Coffee Group. Cari's team of agronomists, cuppers, and traders is dedicated to finding the best customer for each coffee they produce and creating long-lasting relationships.
It is Cari Coffee and the team at AMSA that rigorously put the coffees through multiple quality control filters and testing- to make sure that every lot represents the best from the communities they are working with and sourcing from.
Milk Chocolate, Citrus, Pear, Stone Fruit, Hazelnut
Each member of EK BALAM is processing coffee in small batches throughout the coffee harvest season on their own farms. Once coffee cherries are picked from the farm, they are pulped that day and fermented for roughly 24 hours. After fermentation the coffee is washed, and then is generally dried on patios.
Chiapas Norte, Mexico
Mexico’s rich biodiversity makes it an ideal place for coffee production. Chiapas is recognized as one of the main producing states of “café de altura” thanks to its altitude and quality of its coffee.
The state of Chiapas is located in the South of Mexico. It is one of the five Mayan states, with great archaeological, cultural, and natural wealth, concentrated in a territory of 73,289 square kilometers. It represents 3.8% of the country’s surface area and borders the state of Tabasco to the north, the Republic of Guatemala to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the south, and the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz to the west.
Photos courtesy of Cari Coffee