The COMAL producer association in San Pedro Necta produced this coffee. COMAL is part of FECCEG, an umbrella cooperative that groups 5 smaller cooperatives and 8 producer associations in Guatemala. FECCEG stands for Federación Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala. All their producer member farms have organic or Fairtrade certification. In total, FECCEG extends its services to 880 farming families.
The COMAL cooperative, short for Comercializadora Maya Alternativa, operates in various communities around the municipality of San Pedro Necta. Spread over 7 areas, COMAL services 88 producers. 22 of them, the producers for this lot, have organic certification. The farms lie at different altitudes, starting at 1400 meters above sea level and going up to 1900 m.a.s.l. The area has a sandy loam soil.
Each producer processes and dries its own coffee on a small patio. They all have their own small depulper, fermentation tank, and washing system. COMAL organizes the collection of the dried parchment from its members and delivers it at the FECCEG dry mill in Quetzaltenango. Here, the quality team analysis the coffee quality of each lot. Depending on the quality, it will be kept separate as a microlot or blended with other coffees from the same producer organization and quality group.
All FECCEG member farms are Organic and Fairtrade certified. The double certification protects the producers from falling international coffee prices. The standard Organic premium on top of a fixed minimum price is $0.3/lb, the Fairtrade premium is $0.2/lb.
The organization has the structure in place to sell its members’ coffees as certified full container lots or as microlots of exceptional quality. In 2016, one of their member farms even produced a coffee that ranked 8th in Cup of Excellence!
By working with a second-level cooperative, a lot more people actually benefit from the proceeds of selling coffee. Farming inputs become less expensive as well since the organization can bulk buy for all its members. By buying through FECCEG, we support all their development programs and help them create better living conditions for all 880 members. They can develop programs with a lot more direct impact than the smaller organizations individually.