Xinabajul is the name of the original Huehuetenango town, and this coffee comes from small-holder farmers in the greater department of Huehue. Specifically, this small lot is a blend of a small producers in the Santa Barbara and Union Cantinil micro regions. The small coffee producers in this area had few options when selling their coffee locally; they could take it to the large mills down at lower elevations and get paid the going rate, or they could sell it to "coyotes" who drive the dirt roads in their trucks paying cash for coffee. Neither offered any extra price for quality, even though the coffees were grown higher and tended with greater care than the big farms down at lower elevations. We partnered with local coffee people to offer higher prices if the farmers could meet our quality expectations in the cup, and this lot is testament to that success. Given that the localities where we are buying coffee are little more than extended family groups, we have found if we involve a brother or sister, they will tell all their coffee-farming kin and soon we have a network of farmers interested in our project. We wrote an in-depth and detailed description of the project as well.
Our lightest roasts (City) lacked the balance found at City+ and Full City, and so the review is tailored to the latter two roast levels. City+ roasts smell of roasted almond and butter toffee, the dry grounds showing a sweet-to-bittersweet side. Full City roasts are bittersweet, but with more of a cocoa and burned sugar concoction. Adding hot water brings up a complex muscovado sugar smell, as well as a sweet cocoa-butter aroma. The cup has unique flavor components of unrefined sugars and nut, a really nice 'drinking coffee' in the middle to dark roast levels. There's a lighter caramel-like sweetness at City+ that shifts much more toward pungent molasses at Full City. A crisp apple note highlights the cup, and the finish is rounded out with a pleasantly bittersweet cacao bar flavor. This is a perfect option for single origin espresso too.