This year was quite productive for our "Proyecto Xinabajul", upping our overall volume from small-holders by at least one full container (40,000 lbs!). This is the second year we've separated the coffee from "Minga" Mendez, an 11-bag micro lot of exceptional quality. Minga'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 whose coffee we also purchased. This mountainous region 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. Not all are "Minga" quality, and we feel lucky to have found her. Proyecto Xinabajul is about finding farmers producing high quality coffees, but who might not otherwise receive premiums for the level of quality through other buying avenues. We offer extremely competitive initial payments directly to the farmers for the coffees we buy, and then follow up with a cash premiums for those that turn out to be "micro lot" quality. You can check out a more in-depth description of the project HERE!
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 baking spice complexity and developed sugars, and with underlying fruit-to-nut flavors. The dry fragrance has a raw honey and caramel scent, with dried apple and cinnamon stick. Dark roasts have elements of dried berry and maple sugar, and with just a touch of aromatic wood. 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. In fact, they're the first attributes I pick up on in a hot cup of a City/City+ roast: light brown sugar sweetness, and a tartaric/grape-like effervescence. A welcome balance is struck at this roast level, and as the coffee cools, faint apple tones and flecks of cinnamon and all-spice powder line the cup. As you near Full City roast level, a sappy/syrupy sweetness develops that reminds me of sweet maple or corn syrup. It's creamy in both body and flavor, and with a bit more fruited character than light roast levels (fresh red apple, and Bartlett pear come to mind). Acidity remains brilliant with this roast development, and the finish fades to an Italian "Turr_n" sort of flavor, honey, sugar, and almond. This is a prime candidate for single-origin Guatemala espresso.