This coffee comes from a region in the Western Highlands of Guatemala named for its picturesque volcanoes and beautiful lake, Lago Atitlan. Grown in fertile volcanic soils by a small farmer cooperative rich in Indian tradition, La Voz que Clama en el Desierto (“The Voice that Cries out in the Desert”) has been certified organic since 1992. The name pays homage to St. John, the patron saint of the village, San Juan La Laguna. The population is about 95% Tz’utujil.
La Voz’s coffee trees are cultivated under a rich shade tree canopy that includes many trees native to the region. This canopy provides a home to a diversity of migratory bird species. La Voz is a cooperatively managed farmer group with 162 partners. 98 partners are male owners, and 64 are female-owned farms, a rarity in coffee farming. The associate farmers produce coffee on small plots of land (about 1 hectare each, or 2.5 acres) that are individually owned and maintained. Ripened coffee is harvested by family members and other coop associates. Sacks of coffee cherries are manually carried to the communal wet processing mill where La Voz’s management oversees the depulping, fermentation, sorting, and patio drying. La Voz also recently has created other revenue by opening a language school and eco-tour.
A Healthy Co-op
The leadership of Coopertiva La Voz is in a good place, partly because they had come from a bad place. Past leadership years ago successfully laundered money, were rife with corruption, and fled the country. Now in financial ruin, the government installed Andres Cotuc to be the manager and Andres then appointed Dona Andrea as the assisting manager. They established a 14-member board that is made up of 5 farmers, 3 village members, 3 finance professionals, and 3 educators. Over the years they have slowly climbed out of debt to solvency. They also created a full-time clinic for all members and their families and are able to subsidize the cost of medicine. The leadership also believes that education is the lifeline out of poverty and have created long-term education modules for all members at no cost. Farmers can enroll in these 9-month courses and learn about forestry, organic agriculture, nutrition and food security, livestock production, administration, and social enterprise, to name a few. We are thrilled that La Voz and Swing’s are long-term partners supporting each other for a better quality of coffee and life.
161 Family Farms
San Juan la Laguna
Typica, Bourbon, Catuai