This is a single-producer coffee from San Isidro, a micro-region within La Democracia, Huehuetenango. We came across the farmer, Roel's coffee on a Guatemala trip this past season on one of the many cupping/selection tables assessed. This is the first year buying directly from Roel, and the quality helps to continue our search for other farmers like him, who we can offer a healthy premium to in order to separate out their higher quality coffee. 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 blended lot from Xinabajul has a solid profile of candied sugar sweetness, like freshly made caramel, or even a touch of maple icing. Grinding this coffee produces a smell of praline, candy-nut, with sweet red raisin. There's a hint of mace as well, especially at darker roast levels, and adding hot water brings up complex cane juice and even raw honey smells, dried apple and black walnut on the break. The cup has unique flavor components of unrefined sugars and nut, with fruit juice flavors that linger in the background. City+ roasts have a nice light caramel flavor, and with an underlying note of almond. A fresh apple flavor comes through, which pairs very well with a note of cinnamon-spiced cocoa. The cool cup shows an apricot nectar flavor with a bit of the bittering stone fruit skins revealed in the finish, along with a caramely-cocoa flavor lasting long into the aftertaste. This coffee shows extreme balance as a brewed cup, and taking into Full City to FC+ territory will yield a chocolate-sweet espresso. A supreme option for single-origin espresso.