A classic high-grown Guatemala cup, well-structured and somewhat restrained in character. City roasts have tannic fruit, floral aroma, malty roast flavors. FC roasts have chocolate, raisin, concord grape, floral notes, spice. City to Full City+
City - City+ to FC+ The coffee works at all roast levels, but with proper rest the complexity is at it's acme a bit lighter. At this lighter level, the coffee won't look as pretty as it does at FC+, more surface texture and patchy coloration. City roast (even lighter) is more fruited, but the body is a little lacking.
This has been a favorite coffee at Sweet Maria's for several years now, and will be in the future, I am sure. Even before we had a relationship with the farm, I had been trying to buy this lot for years, and it's one of my favorite Guatemala farms, a classic, traditional coffee. The farm is from an original land grant of 1623, and the owners have now grown coffee here for 5 generations. It's a very Bourbon-like, high altitude coffee, and has an unusual roast dynamic. And as a confirmation of the great cup quality (not that it is needed here but ...) this farm won #2 spot in the 2007 Guatemala Cup of Excellence. (They didn't have any excess coffee to enter a lot in '08 or '09). You can literally see what a dense, high-grown coffee it is as you roast it: small, dense little seeds that almost seem to shrink like raisins, the creases depending and darkening, before it reaches Full City roast. That compact form, tight crease, and resistance to expansion hints at Bourbon cultivar (there is some Catuai in the mix), and slow, steady maturation on the tree. That's what happens when you grow coffee way up at 1900 meters. I found this coffee has a very wide range of roasts that have great results, from a light City roast through Full City+. The lighter roasts have a punctuated fruitiness to them, bright tannic grape, floral aromatics, and sweet malt syrup roast taste. I really enjoyed watching this coffee take on a bit more color, passing into the Full City range, but not into 2nd crack at all. Here there is a unique balance between chocolate, toffee and raisin sweetness, with mild spice hints, concord grape, berry, and a floral scents (potpourri). All these qualities are moderate in quantity, against the backdrop of a "restrained" cup character overall. This is not a loud coffee, a fruit bomb, a Gesha type. It's a classic high-grown Guatemala. As a cupper, this coffee exudes immense cup quality, as a roaster you can see that dense, tight-fisted little bean take on heat and color just beautifully, and as a guy who just likes a great cup of coffee, this is one I take home on the weekend. We have also found it can make for some excellent SO espresso, or as a blend accent.