It takes a village.
Oaxaca is a remote region of Mexico best known for having craggy mountains and for growing both agave and coffee. While most coffee farming in Oaxaca was based around bulking large community lots in order to sell coffee based on quantity, a few coffee producers and co-ops have started focusing on quality first.
Grupo Yosotatu represents a number of famers who broke away to form their own quality focused group, and our import partners at Red Fox have helped them navigate that process for over seven years. This is our fourth year being able to offer this coffee, and Adam at Red Fox who manages their offerings from Mexico had this to say:
"The San Pedro Yosotatu coffee is probably the most highly allocated coffee Red Fox brings in from Mexico, meaning it’s almost entirely pre-sold prior to arriving in the states and there is very little to no coffee available as a spot offering, since it is such a special cup profile and exclusive coffee. Fortunately The San Pedro Yosotatu group was able to grow the number of farmers participating in the program and also improve their overall quality and yields so we were able to buy more volume this year and continue to offer the high premiums we pay in this region. The vast majority of the Yosotatu coffee makes the cut for the 2nd and 3rd tiers of the qualities we buy, making it possible to offer to only a very select group of roasters like Ruby who look for this type of profile and quality and are willing to pay the prices required and commit to the relationship year over year."
This project has grown over the four years that we've been buying from them, and we're always excited to partner with Grupo Yosotatu year after year. Because there are so many moving parts and so many participants, Adam helped clarify how Red Fox has helped bring these coffees to the United States:
"We met with producer group pre-harvest to plan for the purchase agreement and discuss quality standards. During and right after harvest, we cupped and evaluated (parchment quality, green moisture and water activity) around 100 individual producer offer samples and built regional blends and separated out top tier coffees, into the three categories that Red Fox approves for purchases, worked with a financier to facilitate the pre-financing and make 1st payments during collection of approved lots. We coordinated with a local exporter and dry mill for internal logistics/transport/insurance and provided the milling specs, grainpro purchase, and export bulking instructions and booked the shipping line and route to import the coffees into the US using the fastest possible routing (rarely, if ever, the cheapest option)."
The most difficult thing for many coffee farmers is figuring out how to become connected to roasters in the United States in order to sell their coffees at the premiums needed to sustain investments in quality. We're grateful for Grupo Yosotatu for taking the risk to prioritize quality in their harvest and processing, and we're also grateful for Red Fox's work in making their coffee accessible to us.