This is an interesting blend from three extremely small plots that together total under 2 hectares (~5 acres), way out in the mountains near Concepción Huista. In the cup we find milk chocolate, balanced malic acidity, and ripe berries.
Bourbon & Caturra
Hand picked at peak ripeness. Floated to further remove defects. Depulped. Dry fermented for 36-48 hours. Washed. Dried for four to five days.
The recent history of Guatemalan specialty coffee production has been interesting. Guatemala has been hit relatively hard by climate change, and it is becoming more and more difficult to grow heirloom-type varieties, which makes farmers more and more reliant on hybrid varieties. The coffee profiles are also slowly changing. Pedro Domingo's situation is pretty typical for Huehuetenango: he works a very small farm almost completely by himself, doing everything from harvesting and processing to construction and maintenance. This coffee is as “small farm artisanal” as you can find, and we'll continue investing in the quality of such lots.
Bourbon is the most famous of the Bourbon-descended varieties. It is a tall variety characterized by relatively low production and excellent cup quality, but is susceptible to all the major coffee plant diseases. In the early 1700’s French missionaries carried Bourbon from Yemen to Bourbon Island (now Réunion), giving it the name it has today. The variety spread to other parts of the world beginning in the mid-1800’s as the missionaries moved to establish footholds in Africa and the Americas. Today, in Latin America, Bourbon has largely been replaced by varieties that descend from it—notably Caturra, Pacas, Catuai, and Mundo Novo—although Bourbon itself it is still cultivated in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru.
Caturra is a natural mutation of the Bourbon variety. It was discovered on a plantation in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil sometime between 1915 and 1918. Today, it is one of the most economically important coffees in Central America, to the extent that it is often used as a benchmark against which new cultivars are tested. In Colombia, Caturra was thought to represent nearly half of the country’s production before a government-sponsored program beginning in 2008 incentivized renovation of over three billion coffee trees with the leaf rust resistant Castillo variety (which has Caturra parentage).
The cost of getting a coffee from cherry to beverage varies enormously depending on its place of origin and the location of its consumption. The inclusion of price transparency is a starting point to inform broader conversation around the true costs of production and the sustainability of specialty coffee as a whole.