One of our first picks from this season’s harvest in Huehuetenango, with crisp apple acidity.
Producer: Andres Francisco Matias
Altitude: 1600 masl
Varietal: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, Typica
Harvest: February 2021
About the coffee:
Andres Francisco Matias grows coffee just outside the town of Meste, located in the Huista micro-region of Huehuetenango, Guatemala. The Huista area has been a favourite of ours in recent years, producing a majority of our picks from the wider Huehuetenango region. Zooming in even further, Nadine Rasch of Primavera, our partner in the region, tells us that many of her favourite coffees year after year come from the area around the small village of Meste, where many farmers refer to their farms simply as Finca Meste. Andres has owned his ‘Finca Meste’ since 2005, and also grows bananas as an alternative source of income, which helps him to invest in coffee production and raise quality year after year, hopefully leading to better prices. This lot showcases this work, with a relatively short 24 hour fermentation leading to crisp apple notes in the cup.
Huehuetenango is located in the north-western highlands of Guatemala, and borders with Mexico. It is home to the highest altitudes in all of Central America, due to the presence of the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes mountain range, which peaks at 3837 masl. This creates lots of high altitude land to grow high-quality coffee, an important crop in an area where agriculture is the largest industry. A dry hot wind also blows in from the Tehuantepec plain in Mexico to the north, which protects crops from frost, allowing coffee to grow even higher up the slopes, often above 2000 masl. These high altitudes also lead to very beautiful scenery, something the area is known for, but also to a remoteness not found elsewhere in Guatemala. 9 different ancient Mayan dialects are still spoken here, and the region is home to some of the best preserved examples of Mayan architecture. The remoteness also makes sourcing coffee a challenge here, the journey to farms often takes days over unforgiving terrain, and would-be coffee buyers require knowledge of the local dialects, or an experienced guide. We have visited our Guatemalan partners at Primavera for the past three years, and have been stunned by the beauty of both the coffees they have been sourcing, and of this captivating region.