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Guatemala Coatitlan

Cupping notes

Blackberry, boiled sweets and raspberry make a juicy syrupy cup. Good clarity and definition between flavours.

Description

Atitlan is both the name of a lake and a volcano, situated in the Sololá department of Guatemala. The lake itself is endorheic, meaning it does not drain in to the ocean or sea, and is overlooked by three volcanoes, Atitlan (with a peak of 3535 metres above sea level) and Tolimán (3158masl) to the south and San Pedro (3020masl) to the west, the slopes of which provide the vast majority of this coffee. Headquarters for the cooperative are in Santiago Atitlan, on the banks of the lake. Although the full range of the cooperative covers altitudes of 1350-2000masl, the majority is grown around 1700masl.

Between 2013 and 2014 various meetings and discussions amongst the local coffee growers mooted the idea of organizing in some way shape or form to the mutual benefit of each. With the support of Anacafe, the national association of coffee for Guatemala, the idea for the cooperative took form. In 2015, the 19 men and 5 women that made up the initial 24 producers registered the name and Cooperativa Agrícola Integral Atitlán “El Paraíso Tz’utujil” R.L. was born with the aim of working with small producers and their partners to better support them in processing and marketing their coffee. This has grown slightly (in 2022) to be 26 neighbouring smallholder members.

Since the formation, they have worked hard to offset what they see as their main challenges; Coffee plantation deterioration caused by the impact of diseases and pests brought about by climate change; Lack of adequate technical support; lack of investment; low prices; lack of transparency in their supply stream. They have done this by grouping together producers as they know that smaller producers better value their plantations, Investing in rural education for small producers, investing in both agronomic and market research to develop those areas better, and marketing their coffee in fairer markets that recognise the efforts of their growers.

They produce their own compost using Californian Red Worms, and have been trialling experimental varietals from Brazil since 2014, with the first of these making it to fields in 2017. There is a roastery and cupping room on site, currently run by Diego Mendoza, 2nd place Guatemalan Barista Champion 2022.

Cherries here are processed with purpose. A sweetness and red fruit flavour is desired so a 12 hour maceration step is undertaken before pulping, and a 36 hour wet fermentation follows. Fermentation tanks are covered to protect from weather and better control the environment to give consistency in temperature during fermentation.

Initial drying is for 5 hours on a patio before being moved to plastic sheets and a larger location for the next 10-15 days.

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Origin
Producer
Process
Washed
Altitude
1500 - 2200m
Harvest
December - March
Species
SCA score
85
Varietal

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