The mountainous region of Huehuetenango in Guatemala is, hands down, one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited in our pursuit of fantastic coffees. This year a lot of producers struggled with a drought during the period when their coffee cherries were supposed to be ripening. It was unfortunately pretty typical to witness clusters of semi-ripe cherry on a branch, that had started developing but not progressed to a ripe red colour. This was purported to be due to changes in the region’s microclimate; a severe lack of rain during the 100 days or so that run up to the main harvest period stunted the development of cherries all over Huehuetenango. For many farmers the amount of specialty grade coffee they were able to produce this year is as much as 30% lower compared to last year’s harvest.
Despite the problem with cherry maturation we were able to visit several farmers whose crops were coming in very healthily, and tasted so many delicious coffees that hadn’t been adversely affected by the change in weather patterns. One such coffee was this lot that comes from Finca El Recuerdo (which translates as ‘The Memory’), overseen by Augusto Armas.
This lot is comprised exclusively of the Pache Verde coffee variety, a dwarf mutation of Typica, with great cup quality but poor resistance to pests and diseases. Grown on limestone soils at 1,650-1,750m Agusto planted his coffee amongst a mixture of other plants: Chalum (to fix nitrogen), Gravilea (for shade) and Cipreces (as wind breakers). Once harvested the pulped seeds are fermented for 40 hours in tanks before being washed and then soaked in clean water for a further 24 hours. After processing the coffee is dried for 12 days on patios.
This is our first Guatemalan release of the season, and our first time working with Augusto. We’re excited to have discovered this gem, and hope you’re enchanted by the soft fruited notes and brown sugar sweetness that abound in the cup.
A deep sweetness of caramel and tamarind is lifted by notes of juicy satsuma and yellow plums. Expect a smooth finish with a cola aftertaste.