Manolo from Las Delicias introduced us to finca Bendición (translates to “Blessing”), another farm located in Palencia, close to Guatemala City. Bendición is beautiful example of a family of farmers that choose to get involed with coffee after having had generations of experience with other crops. The farm is focused on getting the best quality from the land they have. Theay only grow coffee and do not participate in any of the porst-harvest processes.. Las Delicias provides the service of getting the ripe cherry washed, dried and ready for export. According to farmer Jose Alfredo Gomez, this enables them to focus on growing the highest quality possible.
Walking onto the farm we sensed the proper farm life and producers proud attitude for their lifestyle. All members off all generations were giving us the tour, and while Jose was passionately explaining everything about his farm, his father and son were constantly spotting pieces of land to maintain or coffee plants to prune. The staggering altitude of 1800-2000 m.a.s.l . results in very dense Strictly Hard Bean coffees. The coffee producing area is 48 manzanas which comes down to 34ha, with avocados, oranges and bananas grown throughout the farm. These fruit plants, as well as native trees (see photo) provide important shade for the coffee trees. There are no pesticides & herbicides being used because Jose believs it’s bad for the soil, and therfore the coffee quality.
Our friends at Caffe Dolce Alchemia Coffee Roasters in Amsterdam made initial contact with Manolo Murales from Las Delicias. After the first succesful import from the Las Delicias coffees we discussed a partnership to help us find more similar coffees from the area. The result is the connection with “cherry-only” farm Bendición, at equally high altitudes. The farm runs up to 2000 m.a.s.l. and the native trees at the peak of the mountain are covered with hanging bush-like vegetation At the very top you will find yourself in complete silence surrounded by acient trees with only the wind as only sound, as it passes through the hanging bushes. A place where you sense a great deal of spiritual energy, or as the Hawaians would say: “Mana”. The varieties at the highest part of the mountain are Catisic and just below Pache (a known Guatemalan variety), but going down you will also find Catuai and Bourbon varieties, as well as patches where they try out new trees. The lots that return to The Coffee Quest’s assortment are the Catisic and Pache Washed, two coffees that provide an surprising amount of fruity tones, and show excellent results for espresso.
Interesting fact: The pickers measure the Brix-value (sugar content in the cherry) before they start harvesting. 22 brix gives them green light to go. They do this to test maturity and to know there is enough sugar in the fruit for the correct fermentation, and important factor for sweetness in the cup.