Once upon a time, Guatemala's main export was indigo and cochineal dye, but in the mid-1800s this industry collapsed after the invention of synthetic dyes. Suddenly, the people needed a new export. More history for you (don't worry it's all going to come together in just a moment): the Jesuit missionaries were in Guatemala in the mid-1700s - they were also expelled not too long after that - not only did they bring with them the message of Jesus Christ, they also brought ornamental coffee plants. Initially these plants were just that, ornamental, but after the decline of the dye industry the Guatemalan's set to work on fortifying their next big export - coffee.
Estimations say there's around 125,000 coffee producers in Guatemala, making Guatemala the eighth biggest exporter of coffee in the world. Most farmers have old, traditional varietals like Bourbon and Typica - the two original varietals.
There are 8 growing regions in Guatemala, many of our coffees come from Huehuetenango, where the coffees are often fruit forward.
Sometimes we get a coffee that’s so good we just can’t help ourselves. The bag comes and we roast it and it tastes great and the juices are flowing and then we call the guys downstairs asking for the farm info and it’s not there. Sometimes that happens. Yes. Well only once. But maybe that’s a testament to how much we wanted to roast it.
This washed Guatemalan has a sweet and balanced profile with white grapes and peach. There is also a strong pamonha flavour to it (Pamonha is a traditional Brazilian food. It is a boiled paste made from sweet corn whisked in coconut milk, typically served wrapped in corn husks. Wikipedia) - our colleague from Brazil told us that.
It is back for 2022! Las Penas is named after the limestone rocks on Pedro Aguilar Mendez’s farm, which is located in the town of San Antonio Huista in Huehuetenango. His farm is located between 1550 and 1680 masl, where he also processes his coffee and this lot is a mix of the Caturra, Catuai, Bourbon and Mundo Novo varieties.
Pedro’s focus has always been on quality, even when he began 30 years ago and you can taste that in the cup. This washed coffee is meticulously dried in the direct sun for 6 hours over 6 days between 9am and 2pm and is rotated every 20 minutes.
Our first coffee for this year's harvest comes from the Buena Vista farm owned and run by Marta Neli Dominguez and her family. It’s located near the town of Petatan in the Huehuetenango region and the name literally came about because of the stunning view from her farm. This farm was inherited from her family and she is teaching her 3 children so they can one day take over! This washed process coffee is a mixture of Caturra and Bourbon varietals grown at between 1720 and 1780 masl.