FLAVOUR PROFILE: Plum and orange with marzipan and a sweet milk chocolate body
FARMS: Río Azul Cooperative
LOCATION: Jacaltenango, Huehuetenango, Guatemala
ALTITUDE: 1100 - 1800 masl.
Founded in 1977 as part of the larger Fedecocagua Cooperative, Cooperative Río Azul initially emerged as a collective effort of small coffee farmers in Huehuetenango, who transported their beans to the city for export. In 2001, Cooperative Río Azul established itself as an independent entity. Nestled in the mountainous municipality of Jacaltenango within Huehuetenango's highland region, this cooperative's farms and communities have flourished through cultivation and harvesting advancements.
Over time, their membership has grown to encompass 254 producers, 500 associates, and 7 board members, each small producer cultivating about 11 hectares of land. These combined plots form the cooperative's 244 hectares of coffee farming land, with its members belonging to the Etnia Popti Mayan group. Traditional Mayan textiles continue to be worn by the elder community members, and a vibrant annual festival celebrates the elements of earth, wind, fire, and land with costumes, local cuisine, music, and dancing. Formerly centered on cultivating beans and corn, the cooperative has since shifted its focus with technical and financial support, making traditional and organic coffee its primary exportable crop.
Bolstered by assistance from various organizations, Río Azul now boasts a mill, drying patios, and a storage warehouse. They are committed to adapting their farming practices and harvesting techniques to align with evolving climate conditions and the specialty coffee market's standards.