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Cedar Mill News
Volume 4, Issue 8


August 2006

Sustainably grown coffee at Farmers' Market

Sierra Alta de la Costa Sur Coffee was founded in 2001 as a humanitarian effort to help the family farmers in the little village of Chanquiahuitl, Jalisco, Mexico. The villagers grow some of the best coffee available.

Sierra Alta now has a small roasting operation based out of its SW Portland location. These roasted beans are currently available at the Cedar Mill Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning from 8 AM to 1 PM. The price is very reasonable and it’s a great feeling to know that the people growing the beans are making a decent living. Plus, it’s terrific coffee!

This is high quality coffee 100% Shade Grown Arabica Beans. Known for its low acidity, full-body flavor and apricot after-taste, this coffee will sure to please coffee lovers.

In 2000 Mike Watson, co-founder of Sierra Alta Coffee, LLC, met Jose, who told him stories of back home. He spoke of how magical the land is and how great his mother and father are. He spoke of the mountains where he was raised, and told how they were enchanted. Mike needed to see firsthand this place called Sierra Manantlan. He wanted to see what sounded like an impoverished paradise complete with the magic of Brujos, cattle rustling and wild west adventures.

Amid all this beauty, Mike found coffee plants growing at Jose’s and other family farms. Ever since, he has been overseeing production and helping with the harvest. The farms are located about 200 miles southwest of Guadalajara, high in the Ejido Ayotitlan of Jalisco, Mexico. Paying fair wages and a fair price for the coffee, Mike began importing these high quality 100% Organic Shade Grown Green Coffee Beans earlier this year.

Many of the young people move away for jobs as Jose did, coming to the United States. If the farms can become sustainable, the young people will work their land and earn a living with a thriving coffee farm. When the growers are paid a fair wage and fair price for their coffee, they strive and take great pride in their work and their farms.

Sierra Alta Coffee is dedicated in helping these family farms to achieve sustainability. All our efforts are to realize an alternate source of income and a more diverse revenue base for these families. When the coffee market drops out again they won’t have to experience the poverty and destruction of the family units as the bread winners migrate to the cities or risk illegally crossing into the United States to earn enough money to feed their families back in Mexico.

Sierra Alta also has a Mexico Office located in the little Mexican town of Minatitlan, located in the bordering state of Colima. Sierra Alta de la Costa Sur Specialty Coffee is a transparent conduit working for the coffee grower co-ops in order to help market and distribute their export-quality 100% organic shade-grown coffee beans.

Ninety percent of all proceeds from coffee bean sales are given to the farmers and co-ops. Sierra Alta Coffee donates school supplies for the children as well as shoes and clothing each year. The last two years Sierra Alta was able to donate a computer for use in the village of Chanquiahuitl.

Sierra Alta Coffee was helpful in educating co-op members about the care and quality controls needed for the specialty coffee market. A feasibility study using this information was compiled relating to the construction of a coffee processing facility centrally located in the Sierra Manantlan Biosphere Reserve in the small town of Chancol, a center for the indigenous people and the Union of coffee grower co-ops.

Sierra Alta Coffee is also assisting local residents establish an eco-tour business offering tours into the Sierra Manantlan Biosphere Reserve. With plans in progress, rustic cabanas are being constructed for multi-day excursions into the coffee growing regions, to visit these remote coffee plots. On horseback or hiking in on foot, visitors will see the indigenous coffee farmers, living as they have for generations on the forested slopes of the Sierra Madre Occidental of Western Jalisco.

Sierra Alta’s intentions are to continue offering these coffee beans and spotlighting the growers. We hope to gain name familiarity, and to let the coffee consumers discover for themselves how good this coffee is; from a region of Mexico ‘The Sierra Manantlan Biosphere Reserve.’
For more information about ordering these fine organic shade grown roasted or green beans please contact: Mike Watson by Phone: 503-519-3030 or email: or stop in at their booth at the Farmers’ Market some Saturday.



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Published monthly by Cedar Mill Advertising & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229