Chiapas, Mexico | Sept - Dec 2014
Right away you notice it! They’re huge! Maragogype beans (pronounced mara-go-hee-peh)—also known as “Elephant Beans”—are a genetic mutation of the Typica variety of Arabica coffee. The name comes from the town of Maragogipe which is in the state of Bahia, in the northeast region of Brazil. It’s not only the beans that are larger – the plant and leaves themselves are distinctively larger too. Typically, Maragogype plants have lower production.
Due to their size, roasting these beans takes a certain finesse, focus and skill to get them just right. And we’ve done just that. It’s been a few years since we last featured this coffee and this year’s offering will not disappoint. The attributes that stick out the most are how sweet and delicate it is—it’s soft, but with a really nice tart finish.
There’s something different about this co-op, too.
Comon Yaj Noptic means “let’s think together” in the ancestral Tzeltal language. Our Green Buyer, Carly, is consistently struck by how that shines through in the way the co-op members work together – more specifically in how they encourage the youth to do the same. Ecotourism in the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve is just one example of work spearheaded by the co-op members’ youth as a means to create economic opportunities that extend beyond coffee. These programs also create meaningful roles to encourage the youth to remain in the co-op, as opposed to fleeing to seek alternatives in the bigger cities.
Comon Yaj Noptic joined ranks with three other co-ops, to build a dry mill together and take advantage of the economies of scale associated with processing, marketing, and exporting coffee. Collectively building a mill was an important step in the journey to gain independence from the traditional economic power structures, and is key in producing lots of coffee that meet the standards of Equal Exchange’s café partners.