Farm: San Marcos La Barranca
Varietal: Bourbon & Caturra
Processing: Fully Washed
Altitude: 1500+ meters above sea level
Owner: Various small holder farmers
Town / City: La Barranca, Las Majadas and San Rafael Guatibil
Region: San Cristóbal Cucho, San Marcos
Overall: Orange rind, floral, lemon
San Marcos la Barranca - Guatemala
This exceptional lot was produced by various smallholder farmers who live and farm coffee in the high hills around the town of Barrancain Guatemala’s San MarcosDepartment. The town, which lies around 40 kilometres from the capital city of San Marcos, is home to only around 100 families whose households dot the green slopes. Many households are connected to the town only by walking paths through the trees.
Families depend entirely upon coffee for their livelihood in the region and farm on very small plots of land that have been passed down from parent to child–often with minimal inputs and relying only on family labour to bring in their harvest. When coffee leaf rust first hit the area in 2012, families were underprepared and hard hit. Many plots were nearly ruined and livelihoods destroyed.
However, thanks to the use of good agricultural methods, the increased application of organic fertilisers and (in many cases) the creation of organic ‘homemade’ fungicides, coffee production around Las Barrancas has bounced back with force. Families have adopted stricter pruning schedules and devised methods to fight coffee leaf rust on their own terms and according to their own means–with limited application of chemical inputs. The proof is in the cup, and it is clear from the high quality of the coffee that their efforts have paid off.
This coffee corresponds to a day of picking from several small producers from villages located in the region of LaBarranca in San Marcos. All coffees are processed in an artisanal way, producing a unique profile. Each family has their own small wet mill that is used to pulp ripe coffee cherries on the day that they are picked. After pulping, coffee is fermented in tanks or barrels (depending on the family) for around 24 hours. It is then fully washed in clean water to remove all mucilage. All waste products (water and pulp) from the wet process are handled so as to minimise environmental impact, and much is actually returned to the soil as organic fertiliser.
All drying is conducted on families’ own patios. Coffee is spread in very thin layers and is turned regularly so as to ensure even drying.