This is an SHB EP grade washed coffee from Unión Cantinil municipality, located in the Huehuetenango department of Guatemala. This coffee is produced by smallholder farmers who typically have around 1ha of land and cultivate the varieties of Caturra, Catuai, Bourbon & Pache.
The coffee is fully processed by smallholder farmers. Cherries are harvested ripe and then de-pulped usually by either manual or small-motored pulpers. This is then left to ferment overnight until the coffee’s remaining mucilage has broken down. Washing is then carried out, usually in specialised channels.
The washed parchment is always sun dried as the small holders don’t have access to mechanical driers. The drying takes advantage of every bit of flat, full sun space that can be found, which is limited in Huehuetenango due to the mountainous and shaded terroir. This means the coffee is dried on roof tops, small patios and on tarps. It must be turned to ensure even drying and avoid over-fermentation or mold. Once the drying is complete the coffee is delivered to our Union Cantinil buying station for quality control and consolidation.
Huehuetenango is both a large department (or state) and the eponymous capital city of that same department. While coffee isn’t grown in the city of Huehuetenango, it is abundant in the high altitude mountains to the west and north of the city. Producers are predominantly smallholders with around 1 hectare of land. In order to buy coffee directly from these smallholder groups we have installed a number or regional micro-warehouses and buying stations. This has both enabled us to receive coffee directly from the small holders and cut the transport & logistics costs for them; all while providing stable market access for these remote communities.
Our micro-warehouse in Unión Cantinil is located in the heart of the municipality and receives coffee from a small radius of about 15km. This high altitude region has some of the best coffees in Huehuetenango. The generally north facing aspect of the mountains means the sun takes its time reaching the small plots where the coffee is grown. While there is some Catimor planted in the region, the common varietals are more traditional and conducive to a high quality cup, such as Bourbons, Caturras and Paches.