Finca El Socorro, Guatemala
In 2010 we introduced you to a Guatemalan offering that we at PT’s were thrilled to launch as our newest Direct Trade Relationship coffee. Finca El Socorro Maracaturra made it’s way into our roasting plant mid September and was gone before we knew it. As sad as we were to see a staff favorite come and go so quickly, I’m happy to say the 2011 harvest is looking excellent and the coffee should arrive early summer.
This year Juan Diego de la Cerda, owner of Finca El Socorro, as been working hard to expand his farm and increase his production by planting several new varieties, including Pacamara. The expansion is only one part of the farms changes this year, as they have been working to improve the milling and drying on the patio as well. His wet mill is at nearly 1400 meters and, due to elevation, requires special attention at all times to achieve quality coffee.
On my recent visit a couple of weeks ago, we watched as Juan Diego coached the pickers on proper cherry selection and constantly tweaked things in the mill to make sure the pulpers were running at peak efficiency and fermentation times were accurate. Drying at this altitude requires a non-stop attention to detail as the process is slow and even a small rain can damage the already processed parchment. Each night the parchment is swept up and covered to protect it from any rains that may occur. Quality is the highest priority for everyone at Finca El Socorro and thats why we love working with Juan Diego, his family and the staff, at Finca El Socorro.
Look for his coffee to arrive some time in May. It should be outstanding as always.
We are so very proud to announce our newest addition to the Direct Trade line of coffees from PTs this year. Finca El Valle, from the Antigua Region of Guatemala.
In an interesting twist of fate, this farm was one of the very first farms I ever visited in 2001 on my first trip to a coffee growing region. Little did I know, 10 years later I’d have to opportunity to work with the remarkable family.
Cristina Gonzales with her husband and 3 sons manage day to day operations at Finca El Valle. A classic Antigua coffee that is balanced and clean with a gentle acidity and lingering, milk chocolate finish.
When Maritza and I visited this farm harvest was already complete, but we could easily see the care that was taken on the farm as we walked the classically aligned rows of coffee. Organization is at a premium at El Valle and everyone is treated as family. From the pickers to the full-time employees, it’s a family run business with a tremendous amount of pride and love poured into their efforts.
We’ll have a longer report soon on this farm. Expect this coffee to arrive in April. We share this coffee with Batdorf & Bronson and Allegro Coffee which is owned by Wholefoods Inc.
Guatemala City and Beyond…
The last leg of our 10-day trip through Guatemala took us just an hour and a half outside of Guatemala City to a farm we’ve now worked with for several years, Finca Santa Isabel. In previous years we’ve carried a classic washed and sun dried, caturra variety, coffee from this farm. But with the addition of El Socorro and El Valle to our offering this year, now was the opportunity to experiment with the brothers Martin and Alex Keller at Finca Santa Isabel. This farm is positioned just around 1,000 meters. Not a high grown coffee by any standard. So we thought lets have some fun and prepare a Naturally processed coffee and take advantage of the lower elevation to experiment and generate something new for our customers.
Martin picked us up at our hotel on Sunday morning and we headed for the farm. Upon arrival he already had a cupping of the coffees waiting for us at their century old farm home. The naturals were prepared and a comparison cup was offered from another farm. Even though the coffee was just off of the drying patio a very short time, we believe this is going to be a special coffee. Only a small portion of this lot will be offered as a single origin as we’ve got it pegged as an awesome Single Origin Espresso.
Did I mention their farm is 100% certified organic? It’s absolutely amazing to be honest. I visited here two years ago while they were still in organic transition. I saw the damage done to the trees by years of over fertilization and pesticides. It was dramatic on this visit to see the farm respond and come to life. The coffee trees were healthy and the shade trees were plentiful. A complete transition from only a couple of years back. This is now a 100% fully certified Organic farm- one of the largest Organic Farms in the world as a matter of fact. The organization of this farm is spectacular.
We anticipate this crop arriving in May as well. Keep your eyes peeled for the Santa Isabel Single Origin Espresso coming this summer.
I know this is a short recap of my most recent trip through Guatemala. I hope to write something a little more detailed as time permits, but I wanted you to have an idea of the harvest as I visit.
And last but definitely not least- Introducing Maritza Suarez-Taylor
As many of you know I got married in August of last year. My wife, Maritza, currently works in quality control for an exporter in Bogota, Colombia for the last 6 years. We’ve been working hard on legalities of immigration now for nearly a year. You could say its been a bit stressful. But I am happy to announce that we now are confident Maritza will achieve full immigration status around the first week of May! When she arrives her help in Quality Control will be welcomed with open arms as the staff is working extremely hard to keep up with all the changes in the coffee industry this year- from new arrivals of Kenya and Burundi to ongoing pricing and quality changes. Maritza is a certified Q Instructor with the Coffee Quality Institute and is well versed in the subtleties of seed to cup. Her expertise on quality control will be a huge boost to our staff.
Not to mention I’ll be happy to just have my wife here in the USA with me! :o)
Co-Founder and Green Buyer
PTs Coffee Roasting Co.