At the core of this two-producer micro lot are developed sugars and bittering cocoa tones, a solid base to buttress complex top notes of lemon, green apple, and ripe peach. Refreshing acidity ties it all together. City to Full City.
This is one of several micro-lot separations we put together from the literally hundreds of Huehuetenango samples we cupped this season. At only 8 bags, this still represents the coffees of two different producers - one from Palmira, La Libertad, the other Hoja Blanca, Cuilco - whose tiny lots were not enough to offer on their own, but together created an amazing micro-blend. "Proyecto Xinabajul", a project centered around the small coffee producers in this area, paying premiums to those who allow us to separate their highest quality lots. In the past, farmers in the 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. We wrote an in-depth and detailed description of the project as well.
Light roasts of this microlot smell especially complex, a floral top note adding an elegance to the dry grounds. Underlying sugary tones like muscovado (verging on molasses at FC) and a touch of vanilla extract come out in the ground coffee. The wet aroma is ultra-sweet, caramel candy and butter toffee smells billow from the crust, and a dried cherry scent pulls from the steam let off on the break. Tasting the hot coffee, acidity is quite apparent, citrus to malic heavily-dependent on roast level. City roasts might be a touch light for my taste, but show citric brightness highlighting brown sugar and black tea flavors, and mere hints of fruited notes. This latter aspect is boosted when you hit City+/FC, shifting toward nectarine and green apple tartness, along with a juicy mouthfeel. There's a lemon note too, functioning more as flavor than acidity. The structuring brightness in the middle-roast range is much more in line with ripe peach (skin and all) or red apple. There's so much to taste as this cup cools, and flavors of developed sugars and bittering cocoa tones are at the core of this rock-solid brewed coffee.