Chocolate, raisin and walnut.
This coffee comes from the El Pensativo cooperative in the Chimaltenango department, Acatenango municipality. The area is located near San Antonio Nejapa, and not far from the volcanoes Acatenango and Fuego. The two volcanoes together are known as La Horqueta and are constantly active albeit with low levels of activity. The nearby river here is also prone to flooding, so particular care has to be taken in the siting of the processing equipment and the drying patios.
Established in 1972, El Pensativo is a primary cooperative that has consistently evolved to grow both the quality and their export markets through the help of Fedecocagua. The work between cooperatives allows one to focus on what they are good at, whilst the other offers a similar level of expertise and understanding but in an alternative aspect. Fedecocagua have improved access to agronomists for improved crop and cup quality, as well as buying machinery for wet processing and providing access to microfinancing for the members of El Pensativo to enable them to provide small scale rejuvenation products or buy fertilizer where needed. Some of the varietals here are very traditional, Typica is still referred to as Arabigo, harking back to its early introduction in to the country.
After picking, coffee is washed and pulped then dried on the patios which are stacked on top of houses and on the steep mountainsides. Or it is taken to Guardiolas for controlled drying if the weather is poor or the harvest high. This typically comprises of 40 hours at 45 degrees before being lowered to 30 degrees and finally 15 degrees until optimum moisture content is reached. The lowering of temperature ensures evenness of drying meaning the green life of the coffee is as best as it can be. It is then shipped in parchment to the Fedecocagua facility in Palin, Escuintla for final grading and milling.
Coffee in Guatemala
Guatemala’s national coffee association Anacafé has classified 8 distinct growing regions in Guatemala and their 'Little Green Book' describes the various regions by geography, climate, soil type and varietals grown to ultimately differentiate the cup characteristics.
This is a small nation, sitting snug between Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Belize, but it has a wide diversity of coffees. There are 8 distinct coffee-growing regions, but a little closer look will show over 300 microclimates. Rainfall varies from 800–5,000 mm/year, but everywhere in the country has a well-defined rainy season.
Anacafé has successfully collected data from 95% of coffee cooperatives to paint a picture of the country’s coffee industry. There are over 125,000 Guatemalan coffee producers spread over 20 departments, with a total of 305,000 hectares of coffee farms.
Altitude ranges between 1,300 and 2,000 m.a.s.l., with 86% of the coffee crop designated Strictly Hard Bean (SHB). SHB coffee, which is associated with higher altitudes and cooler climates, is denser and therefore better quality.
One of the characteristics of the landscape that makes Guatemalan coffees both unique and diverse is the chain of 34 volcanoes which winds its way across the country, parallel to the Pacific. Along this chain sits Guatemala’s “Coffee Belt”, where farms benefit from the greater nutrients found in volcanic soil.
Anacafé aim to preserve the varieties which have positioned Guatemala as a producer of high-quality coffee, which include the traditional Guatemalan varieties: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, Pache and Typica. More recently introduced varieties include Geisha, Pacamara, Maragogype, and Maracaturra