Chochajau is a compound word formed by two references in the Quiche language which is commonly spoken in this region of San Juan La Laguna, Atitilan. The name is a reference to the location that is dominated by steep mountains and cold blue water. The name comes from 3 different elements, Cloud in English as the mist and clouds usually move in the afternoon. Chó = Señor or Sir. And Já = Water or Cloud. Depending on how you build this the name could translate to Cerro del Agua or Mountain of Water. The tiny town that sits in the center of where this coffee comes from is called Pasajquim or Road of Palms.
As the story goes, coffee can be traced back to the 1920’s and the families Puac, Tuy, Ajche, Mantanic and Xum. These families lived in Lake Atitlan but would travel Santo Tomas La Union to pick coffee for about 6 months of the year. The travel was both dangerous and taxing. Hence these families brought seeds back and started to plant their own coffee and become farmers themselves.
Who actually grow Chochaujao now? There are 62 farming families that work in the production of this coffee all strictly following organic standards. As are many small producers the farms are diversified. With coffee there are usually some chickens, tubers and even some pigs. Another cash crop that is sold is avocado. Some of the best avocados from Guatemala come from the cool misty environment where this coffee grows.