PHOENIX Roast – Firebird Coffee’s Latest Single-Origin, Direct-Trade Coffee
It is with great pleasure that I am introducing our newest, Single-Origin, Direct-Trade coffee to the Firebird Chocolate & Coffee line…from right here in the Americas, the beautiful country of Guatemala.
Firebird’s PHOENIX Medium roast coffee, comes from a small, 52 family village in the mountains of Guatemala. It has a brilliant chocolate taste, is mildly spicy and is crisp and refreshing. Designed to pair with chocolate in the afternoon, but even better to start your day at breakfast, I am sure you will absolutely love this latest roast.
One of my goals in building a sustainable chocolate and coffee company was to search out not only the very best beans, but also get as close to “knowing the farmer” as we could possibly get. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Agros International, through board members at Liberty Road Foundation, recently who helped me understand what was going on in the mounatinous region of Guatemala.
Brief History of Guatemala
The following is taken directly from the Agros International website and his a brief history of Guatemala, the source of our newest single-origin coffee bean.
A country of striking features and a strong indigenous culture, Guatemala’s natural beauty and powerful identity stand in stark contrast to its bloody past and troubled present. Mountainous, heavily forested and dotted with Mayan ruins, lakes, volcanoes, orchids and exotic birds, Guatemala is one of the most beautiful countries in Central America. Its indigenous population, the Maya, make up about half of the population. Mayan languages are spoken alongside Spanish, the official tongue. Many Guatemalans are of mixed Amerindian-Hispanic origin.
Guatemala’s beauty and strength of identity have not been accompanied by cohesion and prosperity. In 1996 the country emerged from a 36-year-long civil war in which more than 200,000 people were killed or disappeared.
In spite of an official finding that 93% of all atrocities carried out during the war had been committed by the security forces, moves to bring those responsible to account started only after a long delay.
Guatemalans live in one of the most inequitable societies in the region. Poverty is particularly prevalent in rural areas and in indigenous communities.
Illiteracy, infant mortality and malnutrition are among the highest in the region, life expectancy is among the lowest and the country is one of the most violent in Latin America.
As you can see, this country was ready for some dramatic change. Poverty, and what to do about it, is a question to discuss for another time, but I wanted to share the cold, hard facts about a region of the world that is so beautiful and yet has been so deadly. By being aware, even just a little, my hope is we can be mobilized to make a difference, even if incrementally.
One such village in Guatemala is Batzchocola and in 2004 through 2007, through Agros International, and a donation, along with two teams of people from Liberty Financial Group (now a part of Guild Mortgage Company), launched an investment in this tiny, 52-family village that forever changed this community. In short, Agros, through the donations of Liberty Financial Group and others, provided the funding for land, where this village could have the space to grow coffee, a key in getting these remote villagers out of poverty.
Batzchocola literally translates as “Facing Water Sources.” The village is comprised of approximately 220 acres and as stated before, consists of about 52 families. The following is also taken from the Agros International website about the origins of Batzchocola, Guatemala.
The family of Don Domingo Cruz came to live in this place about two hundred years ago. After dividing the land among his brothers, it was named Batzchocola, meaning “facing water sources” because of the many nearby waterfalls. During the civil war, Batzchocola was ravished; homes and crops were burned, animals were stolen and several family members were killed, leading many to abandon the community and flee to live in Amacchel near Chajul (about 10 hours away by foot). When the war ended, everything changed; the people of Batzchocola can now live in freedom and peace.
Batzchocola spent two years negotiating with the Guatemalan government Land Fund to help them purchase farm land near their homes. In December 2003, they finally received title to their land. While selling coffee together with neighboring Agros village Trapichitos, Batzchocola was introduced to Agros staff, and soon after asked for help learning better agricultural techniques and strengthening the development of their economy.
In June 2011, direct support from Agros ended in Batzchocolá. Direct support includes the weekly visits Agros staff makes to the community for trainings, technical assistance and other community activities. After long-term partnership with Agros, the community has reached sustainability milestones, preparing them for self-sufficiency and continued growth. Agros staff will continue to be in touch as the families finish making land loan repayments. Please read our Graduating Communities document to learn more about how a village graduates from the Agros development process.
One of Firebird’s founding principles is to redefine sustainability. Firebird’s tag line is “Great for the Earth, and Great for Her People” because we mean what we say. We are committed to sustainable practices from the crop, through the hands that harvested it, all the way to the plate or, in the case of this coffee, the finished cup. One of the reasons we chose the Phoenix as our logo, this symbolic, mythical bird, is because of what it represents. According to the myth (in several cultures), the Phoenix would build a nest in aromatic spices and herbs, die, and then be reborn. Symbolically, the Phoenix (Firebird in Native American culture) represents rebirth and renewal, which we think is a powerful image to describe the above Batzchocola story, and our mission and vision at Firebird Chocolate and Coffee.
As you can see, our newest coffee blend has a story, and a pretty deep, intricate, and moving one at that. Our new PHOENIX coffee, is not nor can ever be called a blend. Why? Because every single bean comes from this small village in Guatemala. Roasted in Redmond, Washington, this medium roast has strong chocolate tones, mild spice, and is crisp and refreshing. This roast is absolutely perfect to go along with your breakfast. The crisp, clean and refreshing finish will have the wake up grogginess lifted in no time, ready to start each new day.
The PHOENIX roast is sold in 12 ounce bags, whole bean only, and is packaged in earth friendly, recycled paper (still flavor locked) bags for optimum benefit to the earth and for maintaining freshness.
Want to start your day right? Order PHOENIX Roast from Firebird Coffee!