Isabela Marcos Gaspar is a 71-year-old coffee farmer in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. This is our fifth year featuring her coffee, and it is always a pleasure to bring her back to the menu.
Isabela established her farm in 1990, began selling to the local market three years later, transitioned toward organic in 2004, and received certification in 2009. Throughout this evolution and through the present, Isabela has invested in effective shade management, organic composting, processing improvements, soil conservation, and protection of local plant species. We owe our familiarity with her to our importing partners at Atlas Coffee Importers, who introduced us to CODECH and ADIPY, a cooperative and sub-association within the cooperative, the groups in which Isabela Marcos Gaspar participates.
Atlas has been working with CODECH (Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Desarrollo de Concepción Huista) for over ten years. Of CODECH’s 482 members, 167 are women. Within CODECH are four base associations, one of which is ADIPY (Asociación de Desarrollo Integral Productivo Yamanonh), with 92 women contributors. In addition to offering micro-lots like Isabela’s, Atlas curates regional blends that are representative of the prevailing flavour profiles of each association, and Dispatch purchased the ADIPY lot in 2018. This coffee was a hit, leading us to build upon the relationship by evaluating some of the micro-lot caliber submissions from ADIPY’s women contributors and bringing one selection to the menu. Vibrant tropical fruits layered atop a creamy, custardy foundation helped Isabela’s lot leap from the table and quickly win our hearts.
As was the case in much of the world, COVID hit Guatemala hardest in early 2021, and logistical challenges sustained well into 2022. Though 2023 was perhaps comparatively calm, labor and supply shortages continue to be a major challenge throughout Central America. At Isabela’s age, assistance is imperative throughout the year, but when it comes to harvest, having enough of it will make or break the year. Nonetheless, she has always prevailed, and we are still yet to encounter a year when she has not produced enough high-quality coffee to earn a secondary premium payment at the end of the harvest. Frankly, this is absolutely incredible, and though we would continue supporting her however we could, it is humbling to see her continue to helm her family farm with such aplomb.
In the cup, we taste mango, cream, and orange zest.