Xinabajul is the name of the original Huehuetenango town, and this coffee comes from small-holder farmers in the greater department of Huehue. "Xinabajul" is used mostly to refer the Deportivo Xinabajul, the Huehue team competing in Division One of the national soccer league, with their stadium in the central part of the city. We selected the name without Guatemalan counterparts because it is a matter of pride in the zone, even if the team isn't tops. The small coffee producers in this 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. Given that the localities where we are buying coffee are little more than extended family groups, we have found if we involve a brother or sister, they will tell all their coffee-farming kin and soon we have a network of farmers interested in our project. We wrote an in-depth and detailed description of the project as well.
This small-producer blend has a profile of candied sugar sweetness with underlying praline nut tones. Grinding this coffee produces a smell of caramel and sweet marzipan. Cinnamon and mace smells accent the fragrance, especially at darker roast levels. Adding hot water brings up complex sugars like muscovado and cane juice, as well as Dutch cocoa powder accents. The cup has unique flavor components of unrefined sugars and candied nut, dried coconut, and immense body. City+ roasts have a nice light caramel flavor, and with an underlying note of cocoa-dusted almond. There are fruit flavors too, but I wouldn't characterize them as defining the profile. Apple as well as slight expressions of stone fruit come out as the cup cools, but in a subtle way, providing a nice contrast note to dominant caramel sugar and dark cocoa bittersweetness. The finish is very pleasant with a caramely-cocoa flavor lasting long into the aftertaste, immense body lending to the overall affect. Full City roasts make incredible espresso shots, contrasting burned sugar sweetness with brooding bittersweet chocolate flavors.