Huehuetenango is a municipality in the western highlands of Guatemala, running up to the border with Mexico and encompassing a lot of microclimates across its undulating hills and valleys. Alongside El Quiche, Huehuetenango encompasses the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, the highest non-volcanic mountain range in Central America. Spanish is spoken here, but it is not unusual to hear Mam, highlighting the Mayan ancestry of the area. Cuchumatan itself is derived from Mam and means ‘to bring together with force’.
Fedecocagua is a secondary cooperative formed of 148 primary cooperatives, that is, coffee farmer-based organisations. These typically form to help provide access to agronomists, wet processing facilities, seedlings and microfinance support. Above them, and generally formed of members of primary cooperatives is a secondary cooperative, that work together to provide dry-milling facilities, greater quality control and the all-important access to a global customer base. Cuchumatan is an example of these cooperatives working well together, the best coffee from the highest altitudes from the 15 top performing cooperatives is collected together to create a characteristic coffee from the Huehuetenango department.
This particular coffee is from the Cooperativa Agricola Integral Nuestro Futuro, close to the border with Mexico at the Eastern edge of Huehuetenango. Here, coffee is picked and wet processed, with cherries dried on the flat rooftops of the buildings that act as patios in order to maximise the use of space in the mountains. The coffee is then graded, cupped and selected if suitable for bagging and export.