Nueva Montaña, Guatemala
Nueva Montaña, Guatemala
100g RD 7/26
One of the finest coffees we have tasted from Guatemala; this masterfully processed Maracaturra showcases complex violet florals.
Antonio Gonzalez has a focus on processing on his family’s farm.
Complex violet aromatics are followed by fresh strawberry notes atop rich brown sugar in the cup
This lot from Antonio Gonzalez’ farm in the Fraijanes region stunned us on the cupping table during one of our first Guatemalan cuppings earlier this year. Fraijanes is much further south than Huehuetenango, where many of the Guatemalan lots we buy are grown. The region lies much closer to the Guatemalan capital Guatemala City, so has felt the effects of urbanisation, with higher costs of production and rising land values leading to some difficulty in maintaining a profitable coffee farm.
Antonio’s farm, La Nueva Montaña, is a great example of the work that’s possible in the region, leading a move towards higher quality and differentiation in order to maintain his family business. Together with his wife Eby Samayoa, Antonio has worked particularly hard on improving processing; intentionally creating expressions in the cup through careful use of fermentation. For the future, they hope to improve their agronomic practices to match this work, but these changes take time, gradually honing a new approach and allowing plants to adjust over several harvest seasons. For now, they work to minimise environmental contamination, and share their experience with surrounding farmers, giving tips on removing reliance on chemical inputs, making sure they too can have a successful and profitable business.
This particular lot is of the Maracaturra varietal, a cross between Maragogype, known for its large bean size, and the more widely used Caturra. They see their focus on these high end lots as a learning opportunity, allowing their experience to trickle down and improve the rest of their work. This lot is a great example, pre-fermented in sealed plastic bags overnight for 14 hours, ready to be laid out on raised beds to dry the next day. This pre-fermentation gives a much greater deal of control over the final result, consuming a great deal of sugar under controlled conditions, before the cherries are laid out to dry open to the elements.
The anoxic conditions also favour a bacterial fermentation, leading to the formation of lactic acid, and reducing the risk of yeast-driven alcoholic fermentation and the ‘boozy’ flavours it brings. The fermentation of this lot holds onto a juicy profile, with notes of fresh strawberry, while adding complex aromatics of violet atop a rich brown sugar sweetness.