Coffee category: Bright
Process: Fully washed and dried on patiosWhat to expect: Guatemalan coffees make for a great clean cup of coffee. This one from La Inteligencia is no different with a juicy acidity but also lots of sweetness to go with it. Expect notes of green apple and caramel with a smooth chocolatey body.
Producer: Itiel Vásquez
Region: Hoja Blanca, Huehuetenango
Altitude: 1,800m above sea level
Varietals: Caturra, Bourbon
Farm size: 34 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.
This micro-lot from Itiel Vásquez and his family near Hoja Blanca, is grown with extreme attention to detail in every aspect of farming and processing.
Señor Vásquez was born into coffee farming, and met his wife while working in coffee as a young man. He borrowed money from his father-in-law to go to the United States, where he worked for 12 years. When he returned he purchased 34 Hectares of land, which is now La Inteligencia.
No herbicides are used at the farm and great care is taken in only picking the most mature cherries. The coffee is hand-picked, hand sorted, and dried in small lots on raised beds, as well as on their patio.
Itiel has four sisters with more than 25 years experience working with coffee, who support the farm as well as their own lots. Itiel and his wife also have three children and hope they choose to continue the legacy of farming by using some plots of land they have set aside for each of them.