This coffee comes to us from the deep boreal forests of the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains in Oaxaca, Mexico. Living in these mountains are the Zapotec people, an indigenous ethnic group who’ve called Oaxaca their home for centuries. During colonization in the 16th and 17th centuries, vast numbers of Zapotec people were forced to abandon their ancestral homes and fled to the mountains where they remain to this day. The Zapotec people survived by growing a mixture of sustenance and cash crops throughout the rugged mountainous terrain.
It wasn’t until the mid 19th century that coffee was introduced to the region as a cash crop. Like the story of coffee in many other countries, it found its way to Oaxaca through Catholic missionaries. Father Jose Maria Cortes first planted coffee trees in the land surrounding his parish located in the town of Pluma Hidalgo. Little did the priest know that within a few decades, the coffee he’d planted would become one of the most important cash crops for the Zapotec people.
As the story goes, coffee production spread across Mexico and quickly became a huge source of income for many smallholder farmers in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz, and Puebla. Though there have been many busts and booms within the Mexican coffee industry, production strongly continues in Oaxaca with the tradition being passed from generation to generation.
Recently, we’ve seen a resurgence of Oaxacan coffee popularity, and for good reason. The coffees from this are unbelievably delicious and display a very particular flavor profile that has roasters around the world seeking out new relationships with producers in Oaxaca. We’ve been lucky enough to partner with Cari Coffee to deliver some of the premier coffee produced by the Zapotec people of the Santa Cruz Ozolotepec village.