This year's been very exciting for us working with new farmers in the highlands of Huehuetenango, all part of our Proyecto Xinabajul. We've met and purchased quite a few lots from small, often family-run, farms in the area and one family really stood out among the rest - the Mendez family. They impressed us partly because of the number of family members who submitted great and different coffees, most from their own individual plots of land. But there was one other memorable aspect of their family - FC Mendez. Yes, they have a family football club. Now if only one member submitted great coffee it wouldn't make sense to use this name, but most of the Mendez coffees (if not all) we bought this year were part of the family team. So it made perfect sense to save some of those lots for a blend, highlighting two of the traditions this family holds close to their hearts. Now, I wish I could tell you the football club was as outstanding as their coffee...let's just say they score more goals with their coffee than on the field!
Well, we're not quite sure how FC Mendez ranks among their piers as a football club, but as coffee farmers, they'd give any rival a run for their money. The dry fragrance is very sweet, with dried cherry, honey, black tea leaf, and 5-spice. It's substantial, but with a gentle suggestion of candied citrus peel and dried flowers. The wet crust smells saturated with brown sugar, and with a cream-like quality that reminds me of warmed milk. There's a nice nutty scent as well that is released when breaking through the wet coffee. This makes such a great brewed coffee. The dark sugars that are eluded to in the aromatics and very much present in the cup as well, along with peach and red grape. Slight florals and raw nut flavors come out as well when the cup cools down a bit. The long finish is sweet and has flavors commercial milk chocolate and caramel. We spent lots of time at the cupping table sorting through samples from the Mendez family in order to put this blend together, and we're very pleased with the outcome. It's such a sweet cup of coffee and would make a great, classically profiled espresso.