BLACKBERRY, MANDARIN& LIME
BLACKBERRY, MANDARIN& LIME
The summer months are an exciting time of year for new coffee arrivals; this month has seen the landing of fresh crop Central Americans and the return of Pedro Zacarias for a second season Pedro has been a coffee farmer for 26 years and tends two plots in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala alongside his wife Elisabeth. From the 2018 harvest, we bought coffee produced on the El Limar plot, but this year Pedro has pruned the trees on this section to allow them to regrow with healthy and vigorous fresh growth.More info
Bourbon, Red Pache, Caturra
Pedro Zacarias, El Retiro
Using a rotational system of pruning may cut production volumes for one harvest, but this decrease in annual production is more than balanced out by the long-term increased yields from healthier coffee trees. Being willing to take the short term hit to ensure his coffee trees will be healthy in the long term is a testament to a skilled and dedicated producer.
A sample from Pedro’s second plot El Retiro (which closely neighbours El Limar) was placed on a table of offer samples in the La Central cupping lab in Guatemala City.
La Central is a powerhouse of incredible Guatemalan coffee – it is the beating heart of Primavera coffee, a company founded and run by the indomitable Nadine Rasch. One of CCR’s longest standing green coffee relationships, the coffees we have sourced through Nadine have long been a jewel in the crown of our single origin line-ups.
Pedro’s lot was selected blind by our assistant green buyer, Alex. On a table of outstanding fresh crop Huehuetenango coffees, this year’s harvest from Pedro stood head and shoulders above the rest - a juicy tropical acidity, sugary sweet, with a long complex finish.
The volcanic mountains of Huehue are a stunning terroir for coffee production – the altitude provides hot, sunny days and cool nights that slow the maturation of the coffee cherries, stressing the coffee trees. This forces the plant to focus more energy on its seeds, concentrating the sugars and organic acids into a dense package.
Guatemalan coffee production has been affected by climate change, as the previously stable cycles of wet season and dry season are disrupted. Early rains falling during the dry season can cause coffee trees to flower early. If the dry season persists too long after an early rainfall it can cause a failed harvest. Major droughts affected coffee production in Guatemala in 2016 and 2017. Severe drought causes coffee plants to wilt and lose their leaves, the immature cherries withering on the branch as the tree fights to survive.
The struggles with the changing climate combined with the falling “C” price (the price dictated by the international futures market for green coffee) provide a challenging environment for any coffee producer.
For Pedro to overcome these challenges and produce consistently phenomenal coffee is a witness to true talent and fortitude. His coffees are selectively picked, washed and de-pulped the same day before a wet fermentation and dried on concrete patios.
The stunning acidity and structure of a Huehue coffee lends itself well to brewing with V60. In an 02 brewer, pre-rinse the filter and grind 15g coffee as fine as table-salt. Bloom with 50g of 94c fresh, soft water, stirring the bloom thoroughly. Pour to 250g of water for a 1:16 ratio, finishing pouring at 1:20. Stir the top of the slurry in a circle twice to prevent coffee sticking to the sides of the paper and allow to draw down, aiming for 2:30-3m total brewing time.