About This Coffee
In Mayan culture, the Tz’ikin is a nahual (spirit animal) and the keeper of Mayan lands. Inspired by the protective nahual, we contribute a portion of our profits from every bag sold. This premium goes to support "Coffee Kinder", a 35-day school program that enables kids ages 3 to 12 to continue learning while their parents are working as day laborers in harvest season activities
Previously sold as Mam, the quality of our Tz’ikin blend remains the same, with the added benefit of supporting sustainable coffee production. The name change also recognizes the challenges that come with coffee farming in a changing climate.
Today, about 75% of Huehuetenango’s population are indigenous Maya. Tz’ikin is sourced from smallholders in a micro-region around La Libertad, Cuchamantes mountain range and San Pedro Necta municipalities in the Huehuetenango region.
People have been farming the land in Huehuetenango for thousands of years. Traditional farming techniques include using manure from their sheep for organic fertilizer, rotating land to give the soil time to recover and harvesting communally. Farmers have also traditionally planted a wide variety of crops in a way that best utilizes the sharp altitude changes along Huehuetenango’s steep slopes.
Thanks to the region’s unique location, which brings in hot air from the west and cool air from the north, farms in Huehuetenango are able to cultivate coffee at heights that often exceed 2,000 meters above sea level. These conditions help produce the dazzling acidity and lively fruit notes so beloved in coffees from the region.
Harvest & Post-Harvest
Due to its remoteness, most producers in Huehuetenango process their own coffee. Fully washed home processing is the most common method.
Farmers selectively hand pick cherry and pulp it on their farms, usually with small hand-powered or electric drum pulpers. After fermenting, parchment is agitated to remove remaining mucilage and washed with clean water. All water used during pulping and washing will be filtered – usually through earthen holes – so that the organic solids do not contaminate local waterways.
Farmers typically lay parchment to dry on raised beds that are stacked on top of each other to maximize space. Patios are also frequently used.
Our exporting partner evaluates coffee for quality before finalizing the purchase at their purchasing site in Huehuetenango City. After purchase, parchment is sent to the dry mill where it rests until it is milled and prepared for export.
About Coffee Kinder
Thanks to your purchase, we can fund Coffee Kinder, a 35-day school located at Finca Rosma that enables kids ages 3 to 12 to continue learning while their parents are working as day laborers in harvest season activities.
Fredy Jr. and Alejandro Morales operate Finca Rosma with an eye towards social and community benefit. Alejandro remembers seeing his father, Fredy Sr., a dentist who began coffee farming as a side project, organize medical outreach events for the local community and build better on-farm housing for migrant laborers. These early events were instrumental in teaching the brothers the importance of working with local communities and benefiting others in the coffee supply chain. Today, Coffee Kinder and Rosma's other social programs are an extension of Fredy’s early programs and demonstrates Rosma Coffeelands’ continued dedication to supporting the people who make their coffee possible.
The Coffee Kinder curriculum is approved by the Guatemalan Ministry of Education and provides a range of educational benefits and opportunities to 20 children. Children also receive snacks and lunch.
The project is aimed at supporting children of migrant workers who need to travel with their parents during the harvest season. “We are giving kids the chance to get an education and a nice excuse for them to avoid getting involved in field activities. When they go back in the afternoon, they’ve had a meal, a snack and an education,” Alejandro explains. “The teacher is the wife of one of the managers and has been involved in the community for years. She is known and loved by many.”
During the 2020 harvest, the inaugural year of Coffee Kinder, the 20 slots were quickly filled up by both migrant families and local families seeking educational opportunities for their children. The class was so popular that they ran out of space and materials and had to turn people away. We hope to continue supporting Coffee Kinder and to help them expand so that they can offer education and play to 40 children in the future. In the long term, they want to be able to offer permanent education opportunities for migrant children and children in the surrounding community.
Huehuetenango is well-known for its high altitude and consistent weather patterns. The region lies at a nexus of hot air sweeping eastwards from the Plains of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, Mexico and cool air rushing down from the Cuchumantanes Mountains. The meeting of this hot and cold air creates a microclimate that keeps frost in check and enables coffee cultivation at higher altitudes. Coffee production at 2,000 meters above sea level here is common. These conditions are perfect for producing the sparkling acidity and distinctive fruit flavors of the region.
Strictly Hard Bean (SHB)
Strictly Hard Bean (SHB) specifies the altitude at which the coffee was grown. A coffee must be grown at 1,200 meters above sea level or higher to be considered SHB. The higher altitude and lower temperatures mean that the coffee fruit matures more slowly, creating a denser bean.
European Preparation (EP)
EP stands for European Preparation. EP beans are Screen 15+ with a low defect tolerance.
Coffee in Guatemala
Guatemala boasts a variety of growing regions and conditions that produce spectacular coffees. Today, the country is revered as a producer of some of the most flavorful and nuanced cups worldwide. We are proud to work with several exceptional in-country partners to bring these coffees to market.
The Guatemalan coffee industry experienced a major setback with the 2010 appearance of Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) in Latin America. The epidemic peaked in severity in 2012, and though CLR continues to affect some farms, Guatemala continues to produce high-quality, record-breaking coffees. In 2017, new and varied processing methods pushed prices at the Guatemalan Cup of Excellence contest to record highs.
The quality of coffee being produced in Guatemala is increasing, overall, due to the diversity of the industry’s producers. There are more and more small holder farmers producing exceptional coffee at high altitudes. Cooperatives are becoming more appealing to so many smallholders because they often offer farmers financing and other support for improving their farming and processing and are frequently able to offer higher prices for cherry than middlemen. Many cooperatives have initiated quality improvement training for farmer members and are becoming more adept at helping members market their coffee as specialty.