Cupping Notes: Creamy, flan, butterscotch, vanilla
About This Coffee
The region of Ayarza is a special one, landmarked by the drastic landscape and cold blue water from the Laguna de Ayarza and Laguna Azul. The lake was formed by two massive volcanos that collapsed and formed a large crater. The legends surrounding this lake are numerous like the one that says the bottom has never been found. There is a large white rock that resembles a petrified woman who didn’t follow the orders of Jesus. In short, there are simply too many good stories about Ayarza to do it justice!
We always knew the region had massive potential to produce specialty coffee, but the cups that we found were usually solid but unsurprising. The quality coming from the washed coffee was much better than expected, so they began looking at using different processes as well.
The latest innovation at the Ayarza mill is a Brown Sugar infusion process. Fresh cherry undergoes three days of carbonic maceration, after which the coffee is depulped and the wet parchment is fermented with the addition of a fruit concentrate. This co-fermentation process creates and enhances sweetness and unique flavours in the cup.
Country of Origin: Guatemala
Region: Santa Rosa
Processing Description: Carbonic Maceration, extended fermentation with fruit juice
Growing Altitude: 1400-2000 MASL
Plant Species: Arabica
Varieties: Bourbon, Catuai, Pache
History of Coffee in Guatemala
Although coffee was brought over from the Caribbean in the mid-18th century by Jesuit priests, it was used primarily as an ornamental plant and garden crop for 100 years in Guatemala. Coffee wasn’t widely traded, however, until commercial production began in the 1850s. The volcanic soil and various micro-climates proved ideal for growing coffee in Guatemala. Coffee, within a generation, became the country’s most important crop. In 1860, Guatemala exported 140,000 pounds of coffee, and just 25 years later, the country was exporting over 40 million pounds. Large numbers of coffee farmers were German immigrants responsible for many inventions and innovations related to coffee milling. Most of Guatemala’s coffee was exported to Germany until the First World War, when exports shifted to the United States.
Growing Coffee in Guatemala
Coffee farming practices are similar to other countries in the region, but Guatemala has an abundance of water, volcanic soil, and very distinct micro-climates compared to its neighbours. Although late to coffee, Guatemala recognized and responded to the needs of the emerging specialty coffee sector earlier than most coffee-producing regions. Anacafé, the coffee producers association in Guatemala, identifies seven growing regions: Fraijanes, the plateau south of Guatemala City; Coban, a rainforest region in the center of the country; Huehuetenango, highlands near the border with Mexico; Atitlan, primarily the volcanic mountains on the Pacific side of Lake Atitlan; San Marcos, between Huehuetenango and the Pacific Ocean; Oriente, the driest of the growing regions located near the eastern border with Honduras; and the most famous of all, Antigua, nestled among the volcanoes an hour’s drive southwest of Guatemala City.
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