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Siltepec

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Quick Facts

Municipality: Siltepec

Country: Mexico

State / Province: Chiapas

Region: Sierra Madre de Chiapas

Coop: GRAPOS

Altitude MASL: 1,565

Main varieties: Típica, Marsellesa, Mundo Novo, Bourbon

Harvest: December to April

Main process: Washed

Overview

Siltepec means “Hill of the snails” in Nahuatl, it was erected as a town with the name of San Isidro Siltepeque on March 9, 1887, located in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, in the middle of the mountains.

From the closest city, Motozintla, a two-hour drive is necessary to reach Siltepec, crossing diverse landscapes, heights, and climates. The municipality is characterized by the production of coffee cultivated at an altitude between 1,200 and 1,600 meters above sea level.

Natural Resources & Coffee

Chiapas disposes of a great variety of natural resources – unfortunately, its irrational exploitation has devastated extensive areas of forest and jungle, causing the disappearance of flora and fauna wild species. Within the limits of Siltepec, we find El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve (119,177.29 hectares) and the ecological conservation zone of Cordon Pico El Loro Paxtal (61,268.00 hectares).

El Triunfo contains two of the most threatened ecosystems in Mexico: the cloud forest and the tropical rain forest of Soconusco. In addition, the rugged topography creates a mountainous landscape with other types of vegetation. It is still a refuge for numerous species of wild flora and fauna in danger of extinction such as the peacock and the quetzal. It was integrated into the International Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO in 1993.

The municipality of Siltepec counts 201 localities; where coffee is the most important crop followed by corn and black beans (frijol). Most of the producers are considered “small” farmers (below 5 ha) and unlike Oaxaca where the wet process is handled on the farm, in Siltepec, coffee producers bring the cherries to their home where a wet mill is installed. They sell their washed coffee to their cooperatives and their natural coffee to coyotes who will commercialize it locally.

Once the process is done, the members of the GRAPOS organization store the parchment before selling it to the closest purchase center. Coffee is then moved to Tapachula (5-6 hours), the main warehouse of the organization before being processed and exported.