Cupping Notes: Apple cider, candied lemon, apricot, dark chocolate
About this coffee
Antigua estates and small producers
1500 - 2000 masl
Bourbon, Typica, and Caturra
Antigua Valley, Sacatepéquez Department, Guatemala
January - May
The city of Antigua is in many ways a modern coffee Eden. It’s iconic, laid back, gorgeously ornate, and for a city of its size it is absolutely teeming with historic coffee infrastructure. Coffee from most of the Sacatepéquez department is known simply as “Antigua”, and their sugar profiles range from butterscotch to marzipan sweetness, and acids from lemonade-like piquancy to dessert wine or tangy dried fruit.
Guatemala’s best centralized wet mills and best boutique exporters are based in Antigua. There are thousands of farms in the area, from the city’s legacy estates to patchwork smallholder communities climbing most of the way up Volcán de Agua, one of three looming stratovolcanoes that seem to be visible from every street corner in town and play a large part in Antigua’s famous soil composition. Such a variety of producers begets coffees with endless combinations of microclimates, elevations and varieties. There is a lot to work with here, and a lot of talent.
“Los Volcanes SHB EP” is a blend of cherry from throughout the Antigua valley processed centrally at an historic wet mill in the Antigua valley owned by CAMEC. For the past few years the management of CAMEC’s wet mill has been overseen by Los Volcanes Coffee, a tight-knit processing and exporting team who expertise in agronomy and processing is interwoven throughout Guatemala, thanks to their many years of experience as cuppers, roasters, exporters, relationship managers, and educators. The founding team at Los Volcanes is known for breaking down a single farm’s harvest into hundreds of data points (compost formulas, genetics, shade variance, picking rates, fermentation times and temperatures, drying styles, and on and on) and re-building custom-tailored harvesting systems for farm managers based on their experience and cupping acumen. Naturally, over time, Los Volcanes began to co-manage farms with their supplier partners. Finally, a few years ago they were granted operation of a CAMEC’s wet mill, complete with adjacent coffee farm, and moved their headquarters there from Guatemala City. They now centrally process cherry from dozens of select farms and smallholder communities, bringing their fermentation precision to an unprecedented scale, and building incredibly delicious, affordable macro lots that present refined terroirs and consistent preparation.
Cherry is delivered daily from across the Antigua valley. Upon delivery it is inspected for uniformity, depulped, and fermented for up to 72 hours in a covered, temperature-controlled warehouse of ceramic tanks. Los Volcanes employs dedicated processing managers to specifically oversee the bulk fermentations. These local experts are calibrated by a combination of parchment density, temperature and smell to manage precise degrees of development and maintain consistency across batches of various volumes, temperatures, and humidity levels. After fermentation is complete, parchment is passed through a pressurized water siphon for cleaning and density grading, and then dried on the site’s large patio or in mechanical dryers. All centrally processed lots are sampled and cupped extensively by the Los Volcanes quality team so they can be profiled by sensory attributes and combined to present very precise final profiles.
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