Yolanda Dominguez Yescas

$30
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Impressions: roasted almond, lemon, cocoa, raspberry
Roast Degree: light (2/5)

Country: Mexico
Region: Oaxaca (Sierra Norte)
Municipality: San Juan Juquila Vijanos
Localidad: Juquila Vijanos

Varietal: Marsellesa
Process: Washed
Fermentation: 48h
Drying: 5 days
Import and Export Partner: Azahar Coffee

We are so excited to launch this special coffee from Yolanda Dominguez Yescas. It’s a very tasty brew, but this is not what we are the most proud about.

Our main goal as a business is to change the coffee status quo. And this coffee is part of the changes we wish to see in the industry.

What does this mean?

It means that we are trying to change the fact that farmers, even if they are responsible for producing all the raw material we need and without whom we couldn’t even be in business, are often not in charge of who they sell their coffee to, or for how much.

When you buy this coffee, you are a part of something bigger than just a tasty cup of Joe: you help empower and give a living wage to an indigenous producing group whose remoteness was always a hurdle when it came to connecting with coffee buyers.
99% of the people living in San Juan Juquila Vijanos are of Zapotec origin.

The price of this coffee, according to the four different wage level described in the Sustainable Coffee Buyer’s Guide, was set to make sure the farmer earned a living wage. We paid 3.5x over Azahar’s premium, and 5.5x the average local market price for this coffee.

We have a second coffee from the same region that you can find here.

(See our transparency report for all the details, but read below for more info on Yolanda.)

Yolanda Dominguez Yescas, 47 years old, was born and raised in Juquila. She is a third generation coffee farmer.

For almost 13 years her husband Luiz Cruz Cruz was in the United States to support the family from there. It was very hard to work the field while raising their three kids Misti, Eber and Edwin.

With her husband support they could buy 2 hectares of land to produce their own coffee. They started in 2012, but unfortunately were hit hard by la roya (coffee leaf rust). It’s only in 2018 that they started to produce coffee again, and the loss of 6 good years of production and expansion were felt when they started again.
Since then, it’s been relatively good, and Yolanda enjoys working in coffee. It is her family’s primary income even if they produced only one bag of exportable coffee. This was just an extra reason for us to pay more for the coffee.

They are part of a producing group called Aroma Juquileño to facilitate government programs and transport, each farmer is responsible for fermentation, drying and milling of their own lots.

They also produce corn and cane sugar as secondary crops.

The Serrano landscape in Juquila Vijanos is characterized by the presence of steep mountains, with slopes that can go up to 90%, making picking much more challenging. With an average and warm temperature of 22 degrees Celsius, excellent conditions for coffee cultivation.

This one is a deeply satisfying brew that feels like an enhanced classic.

The velvety mouthfeel paired with some roasted almonds and cocoa notes will make this your perfect morning coffee.

There is a nice lemon like acidity that makes the coffee come alive, and the subtle raspberry notes gives some nice depths.

Method Dose Ratio Time
Espresso 16-20 g 2:1 26-30 sec
Espresso with milk 16-20 g 1.9:1 32-34 sec
Americano 16-20 g 2.3:1 26-30 sec

V60/Origami 

18-32 g 16:1 3:15-3:45 min

 Chemex & Batch Brew

40-60 g 15.5:1 4:30-5:45 min

 French Press

18-25 g 14.5:1 3:45 min steep time

Farmer: Yolanda Dominguez Yescas
# of exportable bags: 1x69kg
Import & Export partner: Azahar Coffee

Farmgate price: 440MXN /kg of parchment (~35CAD). This amounts to ~40CAD /kg of green coffee.

The average local price was around 80MXN, and the Azahar minimum is around 120MXN.
We paid 5.5x more than local market price, and 3.5x above the Azahar minimum.

Price we paid for the landed coffee at our roastery: 58,90CAD /kg

This ~19CAD differential between the farmgate price and the landed coffee covers:

  • the transport from the remote mountains of the Sierra Norte in Oaxaca to Oaxaca city
  • Azahar on the ground work and export fees
  • Import, financing and storage fees
  • Shipping and customs from the USA to our roastery

Even though we only bought coffee from two farmers at a higher price (see our other lot from here) Yolanda is part of a producing group call Aroma Juquileño. Community means everything to her and her family, and they will share their living income with their neighbours who, according to Yolanda, are instrumental to her success.

Juquila Vijanos is a remote area in Oaxaca, and the fixed and labour costs to produce coffee there is much higher than in the rest of the region. As an example, to achieve the living income in the other areas Azahar is involved in in Mexico, we would have paid 40 to 50% less to achieve the same impact on the farmer’s livelihood.

Even though we think it’s a nice starting point to pay a living wage, we are still very far from what the Sustainable Coffee Buyer’s Guide would qualify as a prosperous income. To do so, we would need to pay a little more than twice what we paid.

Also worth mentioning that as a small business, we could’t have paid more than the minimum (legal) wage if our aim was to compete with the many coffee buyers who usually buy way cheaper coffees, a rampant problem in our industry.

When you buy this coffee, you are a part of something bigger than just a tasty cup of Joe: you help empower and give a living wage to an indigenous producing group whose remoteness was always a hurdle when it came to connecting with coffee buyers.

This is how we challenge a status quo that always benefits importers and roasters while neglecting the very people we depend on, the farmers.

The Sustainable Coffee Buyer’s guide 4 tiers explained:

  • poverty wage: the price paid for a coffee that would leave farmers living in poverty in that region
  • legal wage: farmers paid according to the minimum salary imposed by the government (often not respected in rural jobs)
  • living wage: a wage that allows the farmers to live well with all his family while also paying farm workers a living wage
  • prosperous wage: this is the same as the living income but with an extra 20% paid to the farmers family + another 20% paid for reinvestment in the farm

Those numbers were gathered by the non profit Sustainable Coffee Buyer's Guide while doing cost of production analysis and farmer interviews for the past 3 years, a truly groundbreaking and tedious endeavour.

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