It's been an exciting first year for our program, "Proyecto Xinabajul", finding amazing small-farmer coffees in the hills of Huehuetenango and in turn paying them a premium for their product. The alternative for the farmers is often to sell off their coffee to "coyotes", people trolling the mountains buying up coffee for next to nothing and in turn selling it at the local market with a hefty markup. Not only does it feel great paying these farmers what their coffee is actually worth, but as a result, we've been able to bring in many amazing lots from locations new to us - with a few coffees being absolute "crown jewels". This lot from Letty "Minga" Mendez is one of those coffees. This lot was an absolute stunner on the cupping table, and it was immediately clear that we needed to offer these few bags as a micro-lot. Leticia's farm is located in the area of San Pedro Necta, where many of our small-holder lots are from this year - including most of her family, one of which we've already listed as a micro-lot (Francisco Mendez). This mountainous area is so lush and beautiful, and the hills are dotted with small, family run farms - mostly subsistence farming and often replete with less than a hectare of coffee. Most are not "Minga" quality, and we feel lucky to have found her. As stated earlier, the entire lot is only 5 bags (500 lbs) and will be available for a short time only. Please check out a more in-depth description of Projecto Xinabajul!
What a great year it's been for us in Huehuetenango. The coffees have been vastly different, each one unique in their own right. This lot of Minga has a strong sweetness that runs the range of fruits and developed sugars, and an underlying nutty flavor that is sweet, and one that I find in many lots from this area. The dry fragrance has a raw honey and caramel scent, with dried apple and clove. Dark roasts are berry-like, and with a touch of aromatic wood. The wet crust smells amazing with a strong scent of unrefined sugar, and a lingering note of maple icing. There's even an aspect of dried flowers that is more apparent when breaking the crust. Minga makes an excellent cup of coffee - and one that I would argue has just the right amount of sweetness and acidity to drink day in and day out. There is a sappy/syrupy characteristic to the sweetness of this coffee that reminds me of sweet maple or corn syrup. It's creamy in both body and flavor, and has a slight nuttiness that is well integrated. I love the "classic" flavors of ice cream, and this coffee brings to mind butter pecan! Fruits like flame grape and red berries also make an appearance, but are more subtle than some other coffees from the area. Espresso shots are viscous and with quite a classic flavor - layered chocolate and a bright, lemon rind acidity.