Isabela Marcos Gaspar is a sixty-nine year old coffee farmer in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. This is our third year featuring her coffee, and though we were unable to travel to Guatemala and meet her in the spring of 2020, she remains among our proudest recurring partnerships and we are hopeful that 2022 will be our year to finally meet in person!
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. She is currently overseeing a renovation to her on-farm processing infrastructure in order to increase both her yields and the quality of her product. Hers is precisely the type of narrative that underpins so much of the lovely coffee we have the opportunity to drink today. 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 the year before last. This coffee was a hit, so last season we built 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. Despite overwhelming logistical difficulties and fewer helping hands than Isabela is used to from years past, she was still able to produce a strong volume of coffee at a high enough quality to earn a secondary premium payment at the end of the harvest. Frankly, this is absolutely incredible. It is downright humbling for a producer of Isabela’s age to continue helming her family farm, amidst all of the past year’s chaos, and we are so thankful that we are the roasters who have the chance to represent her, yet again.
In the cup, we taste raspberry, rose hip, and custard.