2017- The Year of Women
The fight for women’s rights is nothing new in our society but we think we can all agree, 2017 could aptly be referred to as the Year of Women. This year began with women across the country marching against misogyny and inequality and is ending with women personally and publicly speaking out against sexualization and assault. On paper, women may have earned equal rights, but culturally we have a long way to go, both in our own country and countries around the world. This is evident in many ways and in many fields and the coffee industry is not exempt.
In the male dominated coffee world, women producers are somewhat rare, so we try to buy those coffees when we can. When our coffee supplier came to us and told us about an entirely women produced coffee, every step from growing to processing to exporting, we knew we had to get it. His best idea, though, was suggesting that Jenni, one of the owners of Modest Coffee, do the roasting of this coffee. We then decided that our employee, Maggie, would do the packaging and delivery, making this an ENTIRELY women produced coffee.
After thinking about it further, we decided this was a great opportunity to do even more, dedicating our 2017 Special Collector to women by donating 25% of the sale price of every bag to Mutual Ground, an Aurora, IL victims of domestic violence assistance center. To amplify the impact of this coffee, we are getting commitments from others in the community to pledge a donation to Mutual Ground for every bag that sells, as well. So far, every bag will bring $8 to Mutual Ground. Additionally, our supplier, Genuine Origin, is donating 35 cents of every pound that they sell to the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. This coffee has all the feels!
La Morena – Guatemala – The Women Producers
In Guatemala, gender equality remains a challenge, and coffee has long been a male dominated industry. These factors have made it incredibly difficult for women, who nearly always enter the business because their father or husband is sick or has died, to compete and thrive in the coffee world. This microlot was grown by three producers, from three regions in Guatemala, and harvested, produced, exported, imported, cupped and sold—all by women.
Karin Hernandez represents Finca San Jose Buenavista. Her father purchased the farm when she was a girl, and she’s worked on it ever since. In addition to growing her own coffee, over the last 8 years Karin has worked closely with her community, where many producers are women, since the men work at a local factory. Recognizing their need for better training and more knowledge, Karin turned herself into a resource. Eventually, she learned about Genuine Origin’s Volcafe Way program (a agricultural program that helps coffee producers farm better), which now provides the women with the training and advice they were looking for. The region of San Juan Altotenango, near the famous Antigua, is strongly influenced by the Agua Volcano. In addition to fertile, volcanic soil, cool winds from the volcano mix with warm air that flows from the South Coast. Beautiful forests also help to keep the temperature stable.
Celeste Fumagalli’s father planted their farm from scratch; when she was 25, he passed away and left her the farm. Her first year, she sold her coffee cherry to the middleman her father had always trusted, but he disappeared with it and never paid her. Celeste became determined to establish a wet mill on the farm and trade her coffee in parchment. Initially, the workers bristled at working for a woman, and one with new ideas. Today, she has the respect of everyone on the farm and appreciates the importance of full traceability, identifying her best lots, and applying best practices in the field and in her mill. Her farm, Finca El Bonito, is in the region of Conguaco Moyuta, in Oriente, which is known for its incredible views of the Pacific. Coffee here is produced at very high altitudes, and each afternoon the cold weather from the mountains and the hot, humid air from the ocean clash and form a dense fog. Combined with its big, old trees, the area is though to be very mystical.
Jovita Castillo’s journey in coffee began in the ’80s, when she was working for one of the largest agricultural trading companies. When the company went bankrupt, Finca Joya Grande, one of Guatemala’s most famous coffee farms, was awarded to a trust, and production fell from 50,000 quintales of cherry to 6,000. The farm was later sold to its current owners, who hired Jovita, trusting her to manage the farm completely. She’s been in charge for the last 10 years, and production is now at 32,000 quintales. Finca Joya Grande is located in Pueblo Nuevo Viñas, Santa Rosa, which is influenced by the volcano at its center, Volcan Tecuamburro, which has an acidic lake at its top. The weather here is temperate, with good sunlight hours for growing coffee and rich, volcanic soil.
Mutual Ground is the safe place where people come together to break the cycle of domestic violence and sexual abuse. They are not just a shelter, they are a solution. Located in Aurora, Illinois, Mutual Ground serves the Greater Aurora area, Southern Kane and all of Kendall County. They answer almost 2,000 calls for help each and every month with 24-hour hotlines staffed by trained Mutual Ground Crisis Intervention Advocates. As one of the oldest and largest domestic violence and sexual assault service agencies in the state of Illinois, Mutual Ground is the place where the healing begins. Mutual Ground provides comprehensive victim services free of charge with support from grants, churches, civic groups, corporate and individual donors. Their mission is to provide education, awareness, and life-changing services that empower individuals, families, and communities to end the cycle of domestic and sexual violence. Learn more here.
Thank you so much to those who have pledged a donation for every bag that sells!
Prisco’s Family Market– Aurora, IL
The Yetee- theyetee.com
Farmer’s Insurance Alex Panozzo– Hinsdale, IL
Bill Donnell– Aurora 4th Ward Alderman
Azucar morena is Spanish for brown sugar, which is the dominant flavor in this cup. Expect also dark chocolate and walnut notes, with a clean, mild acidity and a medium body.
Region: Finca San José Buenavista: San Juan Alotenango, Sacatepéquez; Finca El Bonito: Conguaco, Jutiapa; and Finca Joya Grande: Pueblo Nuevo Viñas, Santa Rosa
Karin Hernandez, Celeste Fumagalli, Jovita Castillo
Bourbon, Catuai, Caturra and CR95
Flavor: Brown sugar, dark chocolate, walnut
Medium – City +
Q-GRADE SCORE 85.25