THE BACK STORY
Chajulense coffee is grown in San Gaspar Chajul [pronounced cha-HOOL], in el Quiché, Guatemala, home to the ancient Mayan Ixil people [pronounced ee-SHEEL]. The Ixil people have battled discrimination and poverty since the conquistadors arrived centuries ago, and attempted genocide during Guatemala’s brutal 36-year armed conflict. In the middle of that conflict, the fair trade, organic coffee association, Asociación Chajulense, was formed. It was the first fair trade, organic coffee association to be established in Guatemala.
Asociación Chajulense was a beacon of hope during that dark period in the region’s history, and many people who had fled for their lives into the mountains began to return to Chajul where there was a growing opportunity to earn an income through coffee farming. Somehow, the association of coffee producers managed to survive in spite of the terror brought upon them by the Guatemalan military and the Guerillas.
After the war, the association provided an economy for the region, an economy that had been devastated for more than a generation.
Asociación Chajulense Va’l Vaq Qujol was founded in 1988 with 40 coffee farmers. In the early 90s they formed their legal status and expanded their Fair Trade status and today they are over 1500 members strong. They also are one of the first coffee cooperatives to gain a organic certification. The cooperative is challenged with maintaining a sustainable model for living conditions for the farmers and their families, economic development and environmentally sound agricultural practices.
In addition to coffee production they also are involved in the production of honey cardamom, and textiles to help diversify their income.
2014 OVER 80 PERCENT OF COFFEE CROP IS LOST TO LA ROYA
A fungus often referred to as coffee rust destroyed most of their coffee production. With the help of The Coffee Trust they employed an EM effective micro-organism solution to safely treat the soil and plants. Where the EM in essence out competes the fungus for nutrients thus protecting the coffee crop. After many years of effort creating their own EMs and distributing and training other farmers through a farmer to farmer promoter campaign, they were able to develop a program where farmers teach other farmers new effective agricultural methods. This is the central theme to how The Coffee Trust works. “Campesino-a-Campesino” as of 2019 they are about 90% back to full capacity in coffee production before the 2014 la Roya event.
Today the association recovered its productivity and remains a fully functioning, fair trade, organic coffee association to this day. They have an fairly large sorting plant comprised of automated equipment along with manual sorting by hand. they produce approximately 1.4 Million pounds of coffee. They also continue to work with The Coffee Trust on local initiatives in the Ixil region.
When you purchase this coffee for your cafe the profits are split between the farmers and The Coffee Trust.