Last week, I was in Guatemala visiting our friends at Finca Nuevo Vinas and also exploring the diversity of coffee within this beautiful country. My journey began with some intensive cupping as a starting point for the direction I would take. Guatemala is blessed with a number of distinct microclimates, soils, and varietals, all which can result in a staggering breadth of coffees. I cupped coffees from Antigua, Huehuetenango, Atitlan, Fraijanes, Santa Rosa, Sacatepequez, Jalapa, and Acatenango, just to name a few. Alex, my gracious and knowledgeable host, explained certain trends to notice in the cup depending on soil composition and elevation, and that some years the distinct flavors of each region are clear and pronounced, and others they are muted.
After cupping we took a short plane ride to his farm, and it was great to be back! I visited him a few years ago and was eager to see how his efforts in increasing biodiversity, improving compost, and increasing shade had impacted his farm. His harvest was near its end, so the trees were at their weakest, drained from the energy they required to produce fruit. Still, the care and health of the farm was evident in their structure: sturdy trunks, branches, and healthy leaves. Small buds were forming on the branches, all waiting for a nice rain to spur flowering.