I flew to Guatemala at the beginning of March, unaware of the impending situation. Until now, there weren’t any real consequences from COVID in the coffee industry but that was all about to change; at peak harvest time in Guatemala, the government imposed strict curfews that made it challenging for the producers to process the coffee. No one was allowed to be out or work past 5 pm. Police were sent far into the mountains to make sure that this was followed.
This meant that the processing work had to be efficient in the allowed time slot. However, it was impossible to get the same amount of work done when workers are active from early mornings to late nights.
Cherries had to wait to be pulped, beans covered early in case of the bad weather forecast and the dry mills had to be shut down at normal peak time. With all this in mind, we are truly grateful for the hard work and dedication from Finca Vista Hermosa, to ensure all of us yet another super clean, balanced, and tasty crop.
Finca Vista Hermosa is our longest-standing partner and was the first farm we bought coffee directly from. We’ve actually been buying from them since we first started Coffee Collective in 2007. Edwin has even visited Copenhagen a couple of times and we’ve been there every year since then.
The land was bought in the mid-'50s by Edwin’s grandfather. From the initial get-go, the main ambition for the family has been to help the local population in getting better living conditions. Edwin told me that coffee is a means to empower the local growers. Teaching them to cup and get more knowledge about specialty coffee has enabled many to grow higher-quality coffee. This is very visible in the fact that more young people are choosing to keep growing coffee instead of moving away to the city.
There are definitely similarities between Finca Vista Hermosa’s approach and the Coffee Collective’s. We are both are using the love for coffee to create a change. This also goes for the environmental approach. The farm doesn’t use pesticides and the main ingredients in the fertiliser they use are from their own sheep, the manure mixed with coffee pulp.
At the present moment, the main focus of the farm is to increase yield size, to become profitable again. Back in 2014, they lost about 90% to leaf rust, and ever since they have been focusing on recovering. They have planted approx. 30,000 trees this summer from their own nursery. Mainly as replacements for old trees or sick trees. 50% of the new ones are from the variety, Caturra.
This year we’ve bought a few different lots, two of them are from their highest situated fields. El Bosque and El Mirador. The El Bosque is a bit wilder with some natural-like fruitiness, clean and funky. El Mirador resembles the classic Vista Hermosa profile, well balanced but with higher sweetness.
The altitude of these fields makes them grow a lot slower, for example, it takes up to 6-7 years for them to get to full production, compared to the normal 4. The few hundred meters of difference in altitude makes all the difference.
They will be in our next subscriptions, a good chance at tasting the difference between the lots. Are you not a subscriber yet? Get your subscription beans here | coffeecollective.dk/subscription/