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14. Coffee in Oaxaca: Cafe Brujula

I was in Oaxaca last month — life is good — to meet with the good folks at Sustainable Harvest here and Michizá, and to continue my education on Payments for Ecosystem Services.  I came back to Oaxaca in late 2008 for the first time in more than 10 years, and to my very pleasant surprise found some great coffee shops, with Cafe Brujula at the top of the list.

When I first stumbled into Cafe Brujula, a gringo pulled my espresso — not a common occurence in my experience in the coffeelands.  His name is Kyle Drumgoole and as it turns out, he helped get me through graduate school — he was the roaster at Small World Coffee in Princeton, New Jersey, where I would fuel myself every afternoon for study late into the night.  Now he is living the dream — he and his wife have been running Café Brújula in Oaxaca City for two and a half years now and preaching the gospel of quality coffee to their clientele, which they say is about half locals and half tourists.

One of the benefits of running a coffee shop in the coffeelands is that you don’t have to go far to source your coffee.  He buys all his coffee directly from three farmers — one from the Pluma region on the coast, another in the Mixteca and a third in the Mazateca.  He is not roasting yet but expects to be doing so by mid-2010.

Kyle Drumgoole, of Cafe Brujula.

The space is just right — distressed walls and high, whitewashed ceilings, a constant stream of good jazz — and takes it art seriously.  The Galería Brujula in the rear of the café features serious exhibits by serious artists.  This week it features an exhibit by Gustavo Monroy, in collaboration with IAGO — the Oaxaca Institute of Graphic Arts — and Galería Quetzalli, two institutions closely related to the Oaxaca legend Francisco Toledo.

The Gallery at Cafe Brujula.

Next time you are in Oaxaca, don’t miss Cafe Brujula’s righteous espresso and very special homemade granola.

New Year’s Greetings from Oaxaca!  Ahh, Oaxaca!  Life is good, indeed. J

It has been a long time.  I wonder whether there was something I said when we last saw each other – or in the article I sent you – that offended you.  Sure hope not.  I hope you had a wonderful holiday and are getting the New Year off to a great start.

I am starting 2010 at a full sprint after taking over our 4-country CAFE Livelihoods project on 1 December after the resignation of the previous project director.  As I look ahead to 2010, SCAA is looming there in April and we have not done any planning – YIKES!  I am writing to see whether you might help me understand what kind of financial resources might be available to support representatives of the groups we are accompanying that are on the FLO register who wish to participate in this year’s SCAA.  I know they will be receiving communications directly from TFUSA, but we want to be able to accompany them and help facilitate the process, bringing any resources we can to bear in cases where TFUSA’s budget can’t meet the needs of folks who want to come but can’t.

Can you point me in the right direction?

Thanks, David.  I look forward to seeing you in April.

Warm regards,


Michael Sheridan

CAFE Livelihoods

Catholic Relief Services

t: +502-2362-2173

f: +502-2362-1755

c: +502-4012-9675


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