A classic Central profile, Guatemala in particular, with great body, chocolate bittersweetness, intensity, tangy roast notes and a twist of lemon rind. Excellent as espresso at FC++. Full City to Full City+
I sorta stumbled on this farm through a couple people I was traveling with in Guatemala. I had cupped samples in Guatemala City and was impressed, and we were really excited to see this farm. (Since we aren't locals and don't get out to San Jose Pinula district every day, an area I had not seen before). The farmer is Armando Melgar, and he has been working on the farm and expanding the coffee production for some time. While he has planted many new Catuai trees, and the fermentation tanks laren't the most beautiful I have seen, he also has a remarkable part of the farm with a mix of beautiful old trees. There appears to be a ton of "Borbones", as well as an odd mix of other old varieties under heavy shade. By waiting for the late crop shipment, we felt like we would be getting coffees from these older, higher-altitude parts of the farm, and judging by the cup I think we certainly did. But what an unusual coffee too. It's not sweet, it's quite bittersweet and aggressive. It's like a real intense 75% cacao semisweet chocolate bar compared to supermarket milk chocolate. The dry fragrance is muted, but you can detect this chocolate character. The wet aroma has almond, almond skins and chocolate, which also really come through in the cup. It's not fruited, sweet or delicate, but what a nice classic cup profile in it's own right. This coffee is about body mainly, about balanced bittersweetness and brightness. And I have a suspicion that we have a strong influence of old cultivar here, and I have tasted this before in a nearby origin. We had a particular Panama that was literally all old growth, untended cultivars, a mix of this and that, planted many decades before. With both the La Trinidad and with that coffee, I found hints of Yemeni coffee in the cup, from across an ocean and centuries away. The cup has that heavily toasted almond character, austere bittersweetness, classic balance of flavors. There's good acidity, just a twist of lemon in the City roast, but it doesn't extend itself beyond the realm of the roast flavors much. You would notice if it wasn't there, for sure. I wouldn't call this coffee a heavyweight, a brooding cup, but next to a sweetly fruited Huehuetenango, it sure seems like one. I feel like this is a coffee an old school cupper from 50 years ago would call a great Guatemala coffee, classic, intense, restrained, structured and well-formed.