Coffee Category: Bright
Process: Fully washed and patio dried
What to expect
Guatemalan coffees make for a great clean cup of coffee. This one from the small farm of Buena Esperanza is smooth, delicate and easy drinking. Expect notes of apple and peach, balanced out with a light milk chocolatey body.
Producer: Noé Castillo
Region: Hoja Blanca, Huehuetenango
Varietals: Caturra, Bourbon, Catuai
Farm size: 22 hectares
Guatemala is well known for its exceptional coffee production. The country has several micro regions and thus differentiated producing regions delivering a vast array of coffees. Of the three non-volcanic regions, Huehuetenango is the highest and driest under cultivation. This area is one of the best regions in Guatemala for coffee production.
Huehuetenango borders the east side Mexico and is at the foot of the Cuchumatanes, the highest non-volcanic mountain range in Central America. Interestingly, this region is protected from frost due to the hot air which originates in the Mexican Tehuantepec plain. The region has an almost unlimited number of rivers and streams, so a mill can be located just about anywhere.
Despite its ideal growing conditions, Huehuetenango does face certain challenges. Foremost is its extreme remoteness, which requires most producers to process their own coffee. Both a good and bad thing, this means that education is a must for best practices or inconsistency and low quality is sure to ensue.
On the south-western side of Hoja Blanca, in the Cuilco department of Huehuetenango, lies finca Buena Esperanza. For more than forty years Doña Maria Castillo, a widow, has been farming coffee, every year hoping for a good harvest. The 'Good Hope' persists today in Maria's thirty year old son Noe, who farms these steep mountains with his brother Marvel. Noe's pride in the land he was given is evident, and he's eager to explain his process and techniques, which he learned from his 10 years working for Nicolas Castillo of Nueva Esperanza, a neighboring farm.
Chalum and avocado trees protect the Bourbon and Caturra trees, and the family strives to use organic products for fertilization wherever possible. Having recovered greatly from the coffee rust of past seasons, Noe has invested in more effective pruning methods -- the production yield this season will be smaller, but he hopes to improve the health of the trees and increase yields in the future. Processing has improved greatly due to a brand new, much larger drying patio and new wet mill. Water is fed from pure ground springs, or nacimientos as opposed to the river, as lot and mill are high above the river.