Jul 24, 2020

Reporte July 2020

I am sending the report june 2020. In Spanish and English

Sustainably facing coffee rust threat in Mexico. (29075)

Estimados donadores

En el informe anterior, les comentamos que conseguimos unas despulpadoras ecológicas, probamos un deshidratador solar para secar el café, mandamos analizar la calidad de las muestras de café pergamino y le vendimos nuestro café pergamino a una organización hermana. Estas posibilidades las logramos gracias a sus donativos.

Ahora les vamos a informar sobre los resultados de estas innovaciones.

Las despulpadoras ecológicas usan menos de la mitad de agua que las despulpadoras convencionales que se utilizan en la región. De esta forma no solo ahorramos agua, sino que no se contaminan los río con residuos que salen de despulpar el café. Además de estas enorme ventaja, tiene dos más que no teníamos previstas: A) no maltratan ni rompen el grano de café, éstos salen completos, lo cual es muy importante para tener un producto de calidad. B) Son livianas y muy fáciles de utilizar, no se requiere mucha fuerza para manejarlas, lo cual permitió que varias mujeres se incorporen a esta fase del procesamiento del café que normalmente se lleva a cabo por los hombres de la familia.

El uso del deshidratador solar también tienen varias ventajas: el café se seca dentro de la cámara que está cerrada, solo fluye en su interior el aire seco y caliente. De esta forma el café está resguardado de la lluvia que siempre se presenta en los meses en que se seca el café a consecuencia del paso de los “nortes”. Esto permite que la familia no tenga que ocuparse de meter el café cada vez que amenzas la lluvia y volver a estender en la planilla cuando pasó la lluvia. Por otro lado, el café seco, sale de mejor calidad que aquellos que se secan al sol en las planillas convencionales, porque no se maltrata la membrana (el pergamino) que envuelve al grano. Al secarlo en planilla, los movimientos que se tienen que hacer al café maltrata esta memebrana y el calor puede ser demasiado fuerte que llegue a matar al embrión del grano, con l cual el café tiene una vida de almacén mucho más corta. Los productores que secaron su café en el deshidratador solar, encontraron oportunidades para mejorar el diseño y armar un modelo adaptado a los requerimientos de secado del café.

Se mandaron analizar 29 muestras de café, obteniendo muy buenos resultados. En las muestras se avalúa características físicas del café y atributos relacionados con el sabor y aroma. La calificación máxima es 100 puntos y a partir de 80 puntos se inicia la escala de los cafés especiales: las muestras que obtienen una calificación entre 80 y 83 se les denomina como café bajo especial. Las muestras con una calificación de 84 puntos en adelante representan un a café especial.

Dentro de esta escala, el 76% de las muestras de las y los compañeros están entraron en el grupo de café bajo especial y 10% (3 muestras) llegaron a los 84 puntos, es decir, alcanzaron incorporarse a los cafés especiales. Esta evaluación es muy importante porque es la primera vez que, los y las cafetaleros, como grupo, inician una experiencia colectiva de venta de café de calidad. Con esta información ya tienen una base para saber dónde tienen que mejorar sus procesos.

Si bien estos resultados están siendo muy importantes para el grupo, también nos topamos con un problema: la humedad del grano de café. En las comunidades, se acostumra medir la humedad de café con técnicas de precepción como el sonido que emiten los granos al moverlos con las manos, el color y la dureza del grano al rompero con los dientes. Con estas formas de percibir la humedad, se mandó el café a los compradores y varios de los costales llevaban café demasiado húmedo que tuvo que ser secado por el comprador.

Nos urge adquirir un medidor de humedad profesional para que no nos vuelva a suceder esta problema.

Finalemente se nos presentaron dos situaciones no previstas.

1. El tiempo que implica clasificar el café, son horas enteras para quitar los granos con deformidades, los rotos, los verdes, etc. Si bien este trabajo no se tenía contemplado, el precio del café lo compensa. Además de que las y los cafetaleros ya están diseñando estrategias para disminuir el tiempo de clasificación del café, integrando en el proceso productivo labores de selección en las diferentes etapas del proceso productivo, iniciando desde el corte de café en el campo.

2. El interés de las mujeres por integrarse a los trabajos de procesamiento de café, donde antes ellas no participaban. Sobre este tema les comentaremos en el siguiente informe.

Dear donors

In the previous report, we informed you that we acquire ecological pulpers; we tried drying the coffee in a solar dehydrator; we send to analyze the quality of the coffee with specialized tasters and the coffee productors sold their coffee to a sister organization. We achieved these possibilities thanks to your donations.

Now we are going to inform you about the results of these innovations.

1. Organic pulpers use less than half the water than conventional pulpers that are used in the region. We not only saved water, but the rivers are not contaminated with residues that come from pulping coffee. In addition to these enormous advantages, the pulpers, have two results we did not have contemplated: A) Diuring de process, the pulpers do not mistreat or break the coffee bean, the grain comes out complete, issue very important to have a quality product. B) The pulpers are light and are very easy to use, they do not require much force to handle them. With this characteristics, several women are intrested to participate in this phase of coffee processing that is normally carried out by the men of the family.

2. The solar dehydrator has several advantages: the coffee dries inside the chamber that is closed, only dry and hot air flows inside it. In this way, the coffee is sheltered from the rain. This allows the family not to have to put inside the house the coffee every time it threaten the rain, and then take de coffee outside to dry when the rain had finished. On the other hand, dry coffee comes out of better quality than those that are dried in the sun on conventional sheets, because the membrane (the parchment) that surrounds the grain is not mistreated. When dried on the spreadsheet, the movements that have to be made to the coffee mistreat this membrane and the heat can be too strong to kill the embryo of the bean, with which the coffee has a much shorter shelf life. Producers who dried their coffee in the solar dehydrator found opportunities to improve the design and build a model tailored to the drying requirements of the coffee.

3. We sent 29 samples of coffee to be analyzed by specialized tasters, obtaining very good results. The samples assess the physical characteristics of the coffee and attributes related to flavor and aroma. The maximum qualification is 100 points; the samples that obtain a qualification between 80 and 83 are called special low coffee. Samples with a rating of 84 points onwards represent a special coffee.

Within this scale, 76% of the samples are entered in the group of special low coffee; 10% (3 samples) reached 84 points. This evaluation allows the families This evaluation allows families to locate areas of opportunity to improve the quality of their coffee production.

Although these results are being very important for the group, we want to tell you about one problem we had.

It is about the humidity of the coffee grain. In the communities this humidity is measured with perception techniques such as the sound emitted by the beans when moving them with the hands, the color and the hardness of the bean when breaking with the teeth. With this ways of measuring humidity we sent de cooffe production to the buyer organization

Several of the bags carried too wet coffee, so they had to be dried by the buyer.
We need to purchase a professional humidity meter so that it does not happen us again.


We were presented with several unforeseen situations:

1. The time involved in classifying coffee; it takes whole hours to remove the beans with deformities, the broken ones, the green ones, etc. Although this work was not contemplated, but the price of coffee makes up for it. The coffee growers are already designing strategies to reduce the time for classifying coffee, integrating selection at different stages of the productive process, starting during the cutting of coffee in the field.

2. The enormous interest of women in integrating themselves into coffee processing jobs, where they previously did not participate. We will comment you this issue in the next report.

April Fools Day is coming. Prank your friends opening a never ending fake update screen on their computer. Sit back and watch their reaction.

Feb 27, 2020

Processing coffee to sell it at a fair price

Processing coffee to sell it at a fair price

 

Dear Donors

Since november, we have started with the coffee harvest, which will last approximately two more months. This activity will trigger the employment of people in the communities during a short season, so, all the family concentrates their work in the coffe harvest.This year, there is a very good coffee production; it has become clear that, the restoration and maintenance work that has been carried out on the agroforestry systems of shade coffee plantations are giving good results.

The contrast between the conventionally managed coffee plantations and the agroecological coffee plantations with resources from this project is remarkable. In productive terms the yields are similar. However, in agroecological coffee plantations, healthier plants and better conserved soils are observed and the production costs are lower due to the decrease in the use of agrochemicals.

The theme of this period is the production process. Coffee has two industrial transformatios after harvesting. The first one is just after harvested the coffee cherry, in which the pulp or the coffee cherry is removed and the grain is dried. At this stage a pulper machine is used; frecuently this stage needs a lot of water to wash the grain. Then, the grain is dried and can be stored in sacks for several months. The second process is to take away a film of the grain, but it is done until it will be sold to the distributor or toaster.

For many years, coffee producers have sold their coffee in cherry, without giving any added value to their production, thus the producers receive only 6% of the price that the consumer pays. Nowadays  there are growing the producers organizations that seek to appropriate the entire value chain. Several organizations have managed to open markets for small coffee producers and sell even roasted and ground coffee.

This year we are begining the first step in the value chain. 30 families have started selling quality coffee. To ensure quality we had several trainings on the wet coffee beneficiary. Although some producers have experience in pulping coffee, quality standards are increasingly demanding. Experienced producers are updating their knowledge and sharing them with the rest of the group, in which several women participate. For women, this is a new activity, since previously they did not participate in the coffee production process.

Likewise, the quality of each producer's coffee is being analyzed by a specialized laboratory through physical and flavor tests to find opportunities to improve quality.

En this stage and to continue with the agroecological process, ecological water-saving pulping machines are being tested to remove the pulp of the grain and solar dehydrators to dry the coffee.

As we informed you in the previous report, the group has already committed a part of its production, with a good price, however, we are still looking for fairer markets.

In this way, we continue to invite our donors to continue supporting this project that is allowing to find strategies for the dignified life and good living of the families of San Miguel Tlapexcatl and Limones in the municipality of Cosautlán, Veracruz, Mexico. We remind you that, due to the austerity policies of the current government, support for the peasant sector is restricted, so it is more than ever necessary the support and solidarity of independent donors, as do those who kindly already finance some actions of This project through the Gloval Giving Foundation platform.

 Thank you.

 Gabriela Guzmán

Estudios Rurales y Asesoría Campesina A. C.

 

Photos:

1. Fully Ripe Coffee Harvest

2. Coffee Processing Course

3. Ecological pulping machine

4. Pulping coffee with ecological machine

5. Solar dehydrator for coffee beans

6. Coffee samples to be analyzed

Nov 25, 2019

Sustainably facing coffee rust threat in Mexico

Sustainably facing coffee rust threat in Mexico

 

(july-september 2019 report)

 

Dear Donors.

During the previous months we have continued to work despite the lack of financial income that will help support our project, but not reducing our enthusiasm and desire to continue working towards the construction of a better world.

The coffee harvest cycle has practically begun, which is why the tasks performed during the first months of the year will be reflected in a good harvest. In this regard we have been working for our coffee production company to market part of the harvest of this cycle. We have signed an agreement for the sale of at least 100 quintals of quality and organic parchment coffee with the Cooperativa Campesinos in Lucha Agraria, with whom we agreed a base price of 2,400 Mexican pesos per quintal of conventional coffee, as well as 3,000 Mexicans pesos per quintal of organic coffee. These prices are higher than those of the local conventional market, which pays around 1,500 Mexican pesos per quintal. On the other hand, during this month, progress will be made in the construction of solar dehydrators that have not yet been completed and that will serve to dry the coffee beans of the next harvest.

We have worked on the monitoring of native honeycomb nests, particularly those that were divided during the previous months, observing a good development with very good harvest and division expectations for next year. It will be important for fellow participants to participate in the care that is required during the coming cold months to prevent these bees from dying and staying until the next stage of flowering, around the month of December.

The women team that currently operates the microenterprise for the production of handmade soaps, shows interest in continuing to see this initiative grow. It is important to mention that the acquisition of the raw material, such as the oils and fragrances with which the soaps are made, has been hindered, so that in some cases the production of some of our production has stopped. However, this does not represent a loss because there is always supply of most of our presentations. On the other hand, during the following months the team will carry out the necessary actions to promote the products. At this stage, we will look for a partner outside the community that is responsible for marketing our products due to the limitations imposed by distance from urban centers. Likewise, social networks will be used to promote the products. There is already a page on Facebook, Instagram and in the following months we will begin upload information about our products and company.

We hope to continue actively counting with your support to implementing useful and necessary proposals in rural to respond to the crisis emerged from rust infestation and other factors that we continue combating.

Thank’s

 
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