Meduim roast with tasting notes of caramel, and brown sugar with a citrus finish. Fair Trade/Organic
Guatemalan Santo Domingo
Municipality - La Libertad
Producers - 12 women form this small coop
Genetic Varieties - Yellow Bourbon, Mundo Novo, Catucai
Altitude - 1200 - 1400 m
Roast - Medium
Tasting Notes: Caramel, brown sugar and citrus finish
Santo Domingo, a group of 12 women producers located in the small community of La Libertad. Santo Domingo is part of FECCEG (which stands for Federación Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala), and the group produces coffee over 35 hectares.
Starting up a women’s farmer organization was difficult, the group’s president, Orfa Constanza, told me. In the beginning, women in La Libertad began gathering to discuss their ideas and their shared interest in working the land for organic coffee production. According to Orfa, this was off-putting to their husbands at first—and for a while, the women had to work against the norms of roles in the household. Over time, however, they each gained title to their own parcels of land—either through their husbands or through inheritance.
Years later, the women of Santo Domingo see great benefits to being coffee producers and feel very empowered by their work. As an independent organization, Santo Domingo receives payment for its coffee directly from FECCEG. Orfa says the women feel a great sense of pride in managing these funds for themselves, and most put it toward their children’s education or investments on their farms.
Organic production is something the women of Santo Domingo value greatly. While in the community I learned about the biofabricas, or organic fertilizer plants that co-op members manage in their communities. FECCEG agronomists train a leader from each community on the production of fertilizers and fungicides that fuel healthy production and combat plant diseases like Roya. At Santo Domingo, the manager of the biofabrica was Deris, a young woman who had taken over the equipment and production since her father immigrated to the United States for work. She told me the solutions have been not just key to sustaining organic agriculture at Santo Domingo, but have been an important additional revenue stream for the leaders, as they are able to sell the products for a small profit.
Diversification is a huge focus for the women of Santo Domingo. The group was the beneficiary of a project by USAID, and several years ago received commercial baking equipment to run a small bakery out of one of the member’s houses. This has been another key source of income for the farmers. The operation houses a large dough mixer and bread oven, and the co-op’s 12 members work in shifts of four women at a time. The women of Santo Domingo sell fresh bread every morning to neighbors, and frequently bake to fulfill special orders as well. Through this program, the women bring in about 3000 Quetzales, or $400 USD, every week.