Municipality: Nuevo León (Teopisca)
State / Province: Chiapas
Region: Región Altos
Altitude MASL: From 1171 to 2269
Main varieties: Bourbon, Caturra, Sarchimor, Catimor, Marsellesa, Mundo Novo
Harvest: November to March
Main process: Washed
Main native languages: Tsotsil, Tseltal
Nuevo Leon, is a coffee-producing town with 2,550 people, 1,296 men, and 1,254 women. The locality is located in Los Altos of Chiapas and belongs to the municipality of Teopisca at a medium altitude of 1,100 MASL. Nuevo Leon is characterized by its mountains, forests, small rivers, and by the coffee zone that generates spectacular landscapes and views.
In Nuevo León, the main activity is the cultivation of coffee followed by the production of corn and cattle. The coffee is cultivated under diversified shade: chalum (Inga spuria), naranjillo (Citronella mucronata), cork (Quercus suber), and oak (Quercus robur).
The process of harvesting coffee is particularly crafty. Producers harvest only the ripe cherries, pulp them on the same day using manual pulpers, and then wash the beans with clean water. The future parchment is dried under the sun in the houses’ yards.
Generally, the harvest takes place from November to February. The coffee producers of this locality commercialize their coffee directly to the UCANOCH organization since thanks to the cooperative it has been possible to commercialize the coffee in different parts of the world.
History of Teopisca Nuevo León
The town of Nuevo Leon belongs to the municipality of Teopisca and it’s the most important ejido for Teopisca. The agricultural activity is the main economy of the municipality. The new generation cares to preserve the ancient traditions of the town, by organizing festivities for instance. The main ones are in honor of the Virgin of Lourdes (February 9-14), Virgin of Guadalupe (December 12), and the celebration of Santa Cruz (May 3). During these events, the locals prepare typical dishes for the celebration such as the tamale de mole accompanied by atole agrio.
We can date the foundation of Teopisca and its localities in 1656. Teopisca is a Nahuatl name meaning House of the Red Lord. Some Tzeltales groups still live in Teopisca. This region is famous for its leather and saddlery workshops.
The first mention of this town dates back to 1586 by Friar Alonso Ponce who passed through this settlement on his way to Guatemala. The town of Teopisca had a very important Spanish influence, so its current population is mestizo.
The church of San Agustín is located in the main square of Teopisca. Its construction began at the end of the 16th century and was completed at the beginning of the 17th century in a Mudejar style. The tourists can also visit the bishop’s caves, the waterfalls, and the archaeological zone.
Among Teopisca traditional foods are beef jerky, salted meat, palm hearts, sausages, and sweets such as honey candy and nougat. Also, the typical drinks are punch, corn atole, and white pozole.
Coffee & Biodiversity
The vegetation of Nuevo León is made of coniferous forests and oak forests. The annual rainfall varies from 350 mm to 2.00 mm, and the temperatures vary from 10 to 26 °C.
Nuevo León has a commitment to shade coffee production guaranteeing the protection of flora and fauna native to the place. Hunting is also prohibited. The farmers perform soil conservation using techniques such as live barriers and dead barriers protecting areas of water sources. Protecting the environment is a natural and deeply rooted custom.
The coffee plantations pass from generation to generation. Due to the increase of the population, the plots were fractionated which explains why it is very common to find small producers (less than 1 hectare). This led the producers to group themselves into organizations so that they can develop their cultivation in a sustainable way following the organic norms, C.A.F.E Practices, or UTZ.
UCANOCH has supported producers with new varieties of coffee plants such as Marsellesa, a variety that has become famous in the area thanks to its precocity in production and the quality that it generates in addition to being tolerant to diseases such as coffee Rust (Hemileia Vastatrix).
The coffee process has not changed in Teopisca. Pickers manually select the ripe cherry and after pulping, the beans ferment for 15 hours depending on the climate. Once the point of fermentation is adequate, the farmers proceed to wash and remove the extra sugars and mucilage. Drying patios must be clean and in good condition – generally, the drying is done by the women in charge of the home, the wife of the producer. The last process is the selection of the parchment when they eliminate the visible defects.
Coffee is then stored in clean bags and on pallets where they will remain until they are transported to the organization’s collection center.