Coffee is not just a staple in the houses of the San Lucans. Coffee puts food on the table of these families. Coffee helps put the children of the community through school. Coffee provides land for a people who have never known the reality of owning property.
The Juan Ana Coffee Program, run and owned by the San Lucas Mission since 1990, provides sustainable living for more than 650 coffee farmers and their families by providing fair, consistent wages far beyond Fair Trade standards. In turn, these farmers provide the highest quality gourmet coffee of the famed ‘world coffee route’ in the Highlands of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
As a program of the San Lucas Mission, the Juan Ana Coffee project is the culmination of 45 years of community development efforts and is an integral component of the San Lucas Mission’s continued efforts in food security, education, healthcare, housing, and skills development.
Beginning with 6 families in 1990, more than 600 families now participate in the Juan Ana Coffee program. Family farms range in size from one-fifth of an acre to 15 acres, with most farms between one and two acres. Families are also provided access to free organic compost and coffee seedlings.
Andres Chajil explains the importance of coffee as two-fold for the country of Guatemala. “The people not only have work because of coffee, but we have trees. Without coffee there would be no trees, which protects the soil from the constant threat of landslides.” In a country where wood-burning stoves are the primary source for heat and cooking, without the value of the fruit the coffee trees bear, they too would be cut down and the environment of the country would be drastically different.
Fair Trade vs. Juan Ana Coffee:
The Juan Ana Coffee program began twenty years ago by asking small farmers what wasneeded for their best quality coffee. Their answer was $26 for 100lbs of unprocessed cerezo coffee. This is roughly triple the price that they would receive through Fair Trade standards, which provides between 10-12% above market prices. Maximizing local benefits of the product, all washing, sorting, grading, packing, weighing and even sewing of the coffee bags is done by hand in the San Lucas Mission.
World renowned Gourmet Quality:
Internationally renowned for its high-quality coffees, Lake Atitlan’s world famous ‘coffee route’ region is located between three volcanoes in a valley with a climate perfect for cultivating coffee: low humidity, lots of sun and cool nights with young soils optimal for coffee production and temperatures ranging from 66.2-71.6°F with altitude between 5,200 and 6,000 feet.
Our coffee farmers grow Arabica coffee - a mix of four subspecies. The predominant subspecies is Bourbon, an heirloom variety, which composes 85-90% of production. The remainder of production is comprised of Caturra and a small amount of Nanci, a variation of Bourbon.
All coffee is grown under a full shade canopy, slowingmaturation and allowing for the bean to develop more natural sugar, less caffeine, and better flavors. Principle shade trees are gravilea and cushin. Other shade trees include: cedar, macadamia, banana, plantain, mahounche, caoba, papaya, lemon, encino, white oak and guachipilin. Likewise, farming practices promote natural forest conditions and provide habitat for many migratory birds that occupy the shade of coffee fields.
Bright, medium-high acidity, full body, very balanced, sweet with deep fruits.