Sourcing women-produced coffees has long been one of our paramount goals. There are many reasons for this, and though summarizing them succinctly risks minimizing the complexity of the issue, the core of the matter is that uplifting women in developing countries is a proven path toward meaningful improvement of community welfare. However, no matter how boldly we prioritize this goal, opportunities to improve upon our fulfillment of it never diminish. In some respects, it is “easier” to represent women when sourcing micro-lots, because those coffees are traceable to an individual or a very small group of individuals. We look for these coffees whenever we can, but it is also important to us to purchase from women across a wider range of the supply chain. Community-driven blends are the area we see the biggest opportunity to do this, but not all communities or cooperatives have enough women within their memberships to make it happen. Projects like NKG Bloom consider this quandary proactively — empowering women through a mixture of micro-financing, agronomic and business trainings, access to high-quality inputs from seeds to fertilizers, and more. The result is an excellent lot of coffee, one driven by sweetness, rich body, and mellow brightness reminiscent of dried fruits.
Though not all of the women who contribute to this selection come from indigenous ancestry, this community and region are heavily influenced by the Nahuas people — the largest indigenous group in Mexico. From an agro-forestry perspective, the Nahua paradigm lends itself to age-old practices that would not fit broadly under the umbrella of whole-systems biodynamics. In practice, this leads to strong intercropping, excellent soil health, and careful conservation — all of which provide coffee and other crops with a phenomenal foundation for quality. Once it comes to processing, each of the women are equipped with hand-cranked de-pulpers and enough space to wash and patio-dry their coffees for fifteen days. Finally, the coffees are sorted, quality-assured, blended, and dry-milled by Exportadora de Café California. In the cup, we taste brown sugar, molasses, and fig.