This lot from Candelaria comes from a particular spot on the farm, Lote Venecia. I was a little surprised by the look of the green itself - it is very 'fresh' in appearance, blue/green color, with some darker marbling visible on many of the beans. I'm not sure why this happened, but the cup hasn't suffered in any way. Finca Candelaria is a rather large farm located in the Alotenango area, not far from Antigua. The farm is at the base of the sweeping ascent to the peak of Volcan de Fuego, with coffee grown between 1220 and 1500 meters. Much of the farm is set aside as natural forest. Candelaria was an old farm that was in poor condition when it came under the ownership and management of Luis Pedro Zelaya Sr. There has been a process of revitalization at Candelaria for some years now, as older trees are heavily pruned back (which takes them our of production for 2 years) or replaced completely with new plant material. Luis Pedro inherited a farm with a severe nematode problem, so all the trees at Candelaria must be grafts with robusta rootstock. The varietals grown are Caturra, Villa Sarchi, Bourbon Anano, and the dwarf Bourboncito.
This lot of Venecia has a grain-like quality from the dry fragrance through to the cup. The ground coffee has a smell of umami tea with roasted barley and green tea leaves. The wet grounds have a caramel popcorn smell, followed by a pumpkin-pie sweetness on the break. The 'freshness' is echoed in the cup, especially at lighter roast levels. City roasts have more of that green tea/roasted barley flavor, a slight tannic feel, with lemon oil and a hint of sesame. Taking the roast a shade darker builds out sweetness a bit, refined cane sugar, and a lemony acidity shows well. Tea-like in many ways, Venecia is still rooted in base coffee characteristics, and makes for an interesting brewed cup.