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Silver Oak Coffee - The Black Bag: Las Delicias - Mexico

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Roasted darker and longer aimed at espresso brewing, bean to cup machines and for people who favour the intensity of a darker roast style.

Notes of dark chocolate and nuts similar to the lighter roast cousin but more intense.

Espresso resipe - try 18g, 28-30 second pour, 40ml beverage plus creme, grind to suit those parameters.

This ‘Las Delicias’ coffee was produced by 21 smallholder members of E-Café Chiapas farming near the community of La Independencia in Mexico’s most southern state. ‘Las Delicias’ means ‘delicious things’ in English, and the coffee is a testament to the delicious possibilities in coffee that the region has to offer. However, the story behind Las Delicias goes beyond the delicious product itself into transforming the lives of coffee farming families.

E-Café – the organisation to which the contributing producers belong – is a faith-based social enterprise established to improve the livelihoods of farmers within Mexico’s poorest state, Chiapas. The organisation seeks to alleviate and,ultimately eliminate poverty by helping small scale, indigenous coffee farmers in Chiapas to improve the quality of their coffee and find new markets for their product. E-Café provides support, training and financing to their members (in addition to milling and exporting their coffee) and is committed to ensuring that the ‘E’ (in E-Café) continues to stand for Enterprise, Environment, Empowerment and Eternity, reflecting the organization’s commitment to community development through economic empowerment. While coffee is the largest income generator and primary livelihood improvement activity for the organisation, it is a relatively new endeavour for them. They began their charitable work in the region by fully funding a University-prep high school for rural young people, an activity which they continue to fund today.

The Las Delicias community is a steep two hour drive into the mountains north of Independencia. The community was originally settled by workers at the nearby Finca Santa Cruz and has gradually become officially recognised by the state as its own political entity. Currently, the small village is home to around 50 households, most of which are related and share the same last names (Luna and Lievano are the most common). All families living here are entirely dependent upon coffee production for their livelihoods.

E-Café member groups are asked to select a group leader, who works with E-Café to secure resources and create cultivation schedules for all lots. In this case, Las Delicias producers have increasingly taken steps to improve soil fertility, impacting both cup quality and productivity and have established worm composting modules to process coffee pulp and other organic waste into fertiliser for coffee plants and other crops. Some producers in the group supplement this with additional fertiliser, which is usually applied once or twice a year. Pruning is done on a tree-by-tree basis, but there has been very little renovation in recent years due to lack of resources and governmental support. As such, each contributing farmer currently only produces 10-20 bags of coffee annually. E-Café aims to work with the group leader of Las Delicias to improve this in the coming years.

Coffee is usually pulped at the individual producers’ homes – though some share infrastructure according to family affiliation. Coffee is delivered via multiple methods including both truck and donkey, on the same day that it is selectively handpicked. The coffee is then sorted to remove any under-ripe and damaged beans and is floated in clean water to remove debris and insect-damaged beans. It is then pulped, in most cases using a 0.5-1 HP motor pulping machine, after which it is delivered to tanks where it is covered with jute for fermentation. After fermentation, the coffee is washed with clean water, which is filtered to remove solids and pollutants before being released. The coffee is then delivered to producers’ patios to dry, where it is raked every 20 to 30 minutes to ensure even drying and constant temperatures. In most cases, parchment dries for 7 to 8 days before being bagged and delivered to E-Café’s warehouse and dry mill in preparation for export.

Altitude: 1000-1300m
Great for: Cafetiere, Espresso, Milky, With milk
Origin: Central America/Mexico - La Independencia
Owner: Various smallholder farmers
Process Method: Washed
Roast Profile: Medium-Dark
Varietals: Caturra, Mundo Novo and Catimor

Roasterr: Silver Oak Coffee

Silver Oak Coffee does not deliver to United Kingdom

Initial collection:

Tasting record

Method Dose Grind Time Volume Comments
e.g. Espresso 18g Vario 1E 25secs 30ml A bit finer next time would be better.