State / Province: Puebla
Region: Sierra Norte de Puebla
Altitude MASL: From 800 to 1,600
Main varieties: Caturra, Typica, Bourbon, Colombia, Costa Rica 95, Oro Azteca, Marsellesa, Mundo Maya H-16
Harvest: March to May
Main process: Washed
Main native languages: Nahuatl and Totonaco
The municipality of Zongozotla is located in the northern highlands of the state of Puebla. 95% of its population is indigenous (Totonac) and established in a group of hills surrounded by mountains and tributaries of the rivers Zempoala and Tapula.
The first historical sources indicate that the origin of the Totonac name derives from the worship of a god called Totonac. Other versions emphasize an etymological interpretation tutu “three” and nacu “heart” (totonaco in Spanish). The Cozoltépetl hill and the Zempoala River are the geographical features that delimit the ethnic boundaries of the Totonacs of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.
For many years, the Totonac population subsisted on the cultivation of sugar cane and cotton. Due to the development of the industry, cheaper fabrics substituted handcrafted ones. On the other hand, the control of the price of sugar and the introduction of other sweeteners led to the exclusion of local sugar from the cane market.
These evolutions led to the introduction of coffee cultivation, which became strong and prominent for 20 years. The late eighties market’s drop directly affected producers, in addition to climatic factors and diseases such as rust.
The main economic activity in Zongozotla continues to be the cultivation of coffee which predominates in the region since the entire northern mountain range has rainfall distributed throughout the year, soils that allow the proper development of plants, and an altitude above 1000 meters, ideal for producing a quality coffee!
The great cultural richness of the inhabitants of this municipality stands out. The women proudly wear a typical dress that consists of a white labor blouse embroidered with different colors, the “quexquemetl” that they wear on the front of the blouse as an adornment, a white skirt known as “enahua” with a colored strip embroidered on the bottom, and a red wool sash with white embroidery. The men wear a blanket shirt and underwear, a palm hat, strappy huaraches (typical shoes in Mexico), and a machete in a ribbon.
The women of this region are characterized by the particularity of participating in field activities, on the same level as men. Many of them carry out the administration of their farms and fieldwork as coffee producers on their own, without neglecting their activities at home and the care of their children.